Responsible Jewellery Practices
- Human Rights and Social issues
- Environmental issues
- Business ethics issues
- Chain of Custody
- Mining Specific Standards
The RJC’s focus is on encouraging responsible business practices to be followed by as many businesses and organisations that operate within the jewellery supply chain as possible. Businesses can join the RJC and commit to being certified against RJC standards via independent third party auditing.
The RJC Code of Practices defines standards for responsible business practices. These are grouped into:
Follow the above links if you would like to find out more about the issues addressed under RJC Member Certification.
Interested in Mining? Click the link to find out more about mining-specific standards in the RJC Code of Practices. Remember, the rest of the RJC Code of Practices is also applicable to mining companies, not just the mining-specific provisions.
Interested in Chain-of-Custody? Click the link to find out more about the RJC Chain-of-Custody Certification initiative – Chain of Custody.
Find out more… see the RJC Standards Guidance for more information on each of the provisions in the RJC Code of Practices.
Bribery and Facilitation payments:
Bribery and facilitation payments are both seen as a form of corruption – an abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
Bribes are paid to obtain something the bribe receiver would not otherwise have provided. Bribes may take the form of cash, gifts in kind, hospitality, expenses, advantage or promises. Today, nearly all countries have criminalised bribery.
Facilitation payments are paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the payment receiver is otherwise still required to do. In countries where wages are low or gift-giving is intrinsic to relationships, facilitation payments emerged as more or less acceptable. However, making a clear distinction between a facilitation payment and a bribe can be difficult in practice.
RJC Code of Practices requires that Members:
- Will not offer, accept or countenance the payment of bribes in any form
- Must consider Bribery Risk in their business, and identify areas of greatest risk and methods to monitor employee conduct
- Facilitate the reporting of incidents of attempted bribery
- Communicate that no employee shall suffer adverse consequences by voicing concerns or refusing to pay a bribe
- Implement controls to monitor Facilitation Payments where they have not yet been eliminated
- With mining facilities must commit to the EITI – transparency in payments to governments to avoid corrupt practices.
Money Laundering and Finance of Terrorism
Money laundering is the process by which the financial proceeds of crime are disguised to conceal their illegal origin. The financing of terrorism is any kind of financial support to those who encourage, plan or engage in terrorism.
Money laundering and the financing of terrorism can, and do occur in any country in the world. As dealers in high value goods, various parts of the jewellery supply chain may be targeted during the process of laundering money. It is therefore vital that the sector adopts very strict systems to minimize the risk of becoming involved in money laundering or terrorism financing.
RJC Code of Practices requires that Members:
- Maintain audited financial accounts where required by Applicable Law.
- Where no Applicable Law exists, comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.
- Report cash and cash-like transactions above relevant thresholds.
- Operate according to “Know your Customer” principles.
The Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint government, international diamond industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds is a term for rough diamonds that are used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.
The KP system is implemented by governments and tracks the export and import of shipments of legitimate rough diamonds between participating countries. To support it, the World Diamond Council also created a voluntary program of industry self regulation called the System of Warranties (SoW) which extends to the trade in cut and polished stones. The diamond industry has made a strong commitment to the Kimberley Process and failure to abide by KPCS or the WDC SoW exposes those companies to expulsion from industry organisations and loss in trade.
RJC Code of Practices requires that Members:
- Not knowingly buy or sell Conflict Diamonds or assist others to do so.
- Apply the controls established in Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for the import and export of rough diamonds. This includes independent audits.
- Have systems in place so that all invoices for diamonds contain the World Diamond Council Warranty Statement.
- Inform all Employees that buy or sell Diamonds about government restrictions, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and World Diamond Council Warranty Statement.
Protecting the security of diamond and gold products makes clear business sense and helps prevent high value products from financing criminal activities. Because of their high value, security measures are required when diamond and gold products are within a business’ premises and while they are being transported.
From a business ethics perspective, it is vital to consider the security of staff and customers when putting security measures in place. The RJC Code of Practices requires that priority must be placed on the security of people over the security of product.
Product integrity within the jewellery industry depends on honesty and transparency about the nature and quality of products being bought and sold. It is of particular importance to the gold and diamond supply chain, since jewellery is often a high value discretionary purchase. End consumers frequently have limited technical knowledge of the articles they are buying and rely on the advice of sellers. New technologies, such as for the treatment of stones, creation of synthetic and simulant stones and development of new alloys, are making the supply chain and consumer market even more complex.
Misinformation about articles sold, at any level of the supply chain through to the end consumer, poses a significant risk to the reputation of individual companies and the industry as a whole. The RJC Code of Practices requires full and accurate disclosure of jewellery product information.
Resource Transparency – Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
For resource-rich countries, the management of a country’s natural resource revenues for the benefit of a country’s citizens is the domain of sovereign governments. Revenues from mining companies in the form of taxes, royalties, signature bonuses and other payments should help drive economic growth and social development in developing and transition countries. However, if not managed well, these resource revenues can create negative economic and social impacts. A lack of accountability and transparency in these revenues can worsen poor governance and lead to corruption, conflict and poverty.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aims to strengthen governance by improving transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations. The EITI sets a global standard for companies to publish what they pay and for governments to disclose what they receive.
The RJC Code of Practices requires Member mining companies to formally commit to and support EITI implementation. Resource transparency is also addressed in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a requirement for RJC Members with Mining Facilities. Under the GRI Mining and Metals Sector Supplement, payments to governments and EITI implementation are disclosed under the GRI reporting framework.
Human Rights and Social Issues
Human Rights are the universal rights and freedoms regarded as belonging to all people, above the laws of any individual nation.
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. While human rights principles were originally intended to limit government action towards individuals or groups, many of the principles relate directly or indirectly to private sector actions.
Businesses are now seen to play a critical role in how human rights are respected globally. Leading businesses have responded by developing more rigorous approaches to human rights, such as risk assessment, corporate monitoring and public reporting.
Human rights in the RJC Code of Practices specifically include those articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and Applicable Law.
Child labour is one of the most high profile and widely-condemned social performance issues. It is deemed to be widespread, with estimates of more than 200 million child labourers aged 5-17 globally. Child labour usually refers to work that interferes with children’s schooling. It may deprive children of the opportunity to attend school, oblige them to leave school prematurely, or require them to combine school attendance with demanding work. Whether or not particular forms of ‘work’ are prohibited as ‘child labour’ depends on a number of factors. These can include the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the legal framework of individual countries and sectors.
It is important to understand the context in which child labour occurs and the impacts it can have. There are various reasons why children are employed, but the main reason is one of economic necessity. Families in marginal economic circumstances may depend on children earning incomes. However, child labour ultimately impedes economic growth and development. It deprives children of the opportunity to be educated for productive and decent work, consigning them to low-paying and unskilled jobs in adulthood at best. Child labour can also have a negative effect on adult working conditions, creating a downward pressure on wage levels and leading to increased adult unemployment rates. This in turn reinforces the problems of poverty and lack of development that drive child labour in the first place. As a result, addressing child labour is a complex issue and unfortunately not always simply a matter of removing children from the workforce. It must be approached with an understanding of its economic drivers and sensitivity to the alternatives.
Under the RJC Code of Practices, RJC Members should have systems in place to prevent the employment of children. In an event where children have been found to be working:
- Phased remediation process must be in place
- Work must not interfere with schooling
- Employment according to the requirements of Applicable Law, or if no such law exists, the provisions of ILO Convention 138 and Recommendation 146
- No engagement in ‘hazardous work’
- Procedures to prevent any additional children from being employed.
It is now generally accepted that forced labour can take many forms and is widespread. There are estimates that more than 12 million people globally are trapped in these conditions. Providing wages or other compensation to a worker does not necessarily mean that the labour is not forced or compulsory. Forced labour also includes situations where workers are threatened with severe deprivations. These can include withholding wages or food, threatening or inflicting physical or sexual violence, or restricting workers’ movements.
The Code of Practices requires that RJC Members will not:
- Use forced labour, nor restrict the freedom of movement of employees.
- Retain original copies of Employee personal documentation.
- Require any form of deposit, recruitment fee or equipment advance either directly or indirectly from an Employee.
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
The right to freedom of association is proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At work, this means the right to freely form organisations such as independent workers’ unions or employers’ organisations. Those workers who do not wish to join such associations also have their rights protected, and may not be coerced into doing so against their will. Freedom of association does not mean that companies should organise workforces or invite unions into the workplace. It means that employers must not interfere in an employee’s decision whether to join an association or discriminate against the employee for their choice.
Collective bargaining is a voluntary process that takes place between representatives of workers and representatives of employers. It usually focuses on the negotiation of terms and conditions of employment, such as wages, working hours, conditions, grievance procedures and the rights and responsibilities of each party. The main principle for the negotiation is that it should be carried out in good faith, where genuine effort is made to reach agreement in reasonable time. The parties often refer to the mutually acceptable result of the negotiation as a ‘collective bargaining agreement’. Where agreement is not reached, dispute settlement procedures range from conciliation, through mediation to arbitration.
The RJC Code of Practices requires that:
- Members must not prevent Employees from associating freely.
- Where laws prohibit these freedoms, Members will support parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.
- Members must not prevent collective bargaining and must adhere to collective bargaining agreements where they exist.
Discrimination is where people are treated differently because of certain characteristics – such as race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin – which results in the impairment of equality of opportunity and treatment.
Discrimination in occupation and employment takes many forms and occurs in all kinds of work settings. It can occur in developed or developing countries, in rural or city settings, and in low or high technology workplaces. It may affect people gaining access to employment or particular occupations. Or once at work, it can result in different treatment of employees in their responsibilities, conditions, training, promotion, or job security. Ultimately, discrimination creates and reinforces inequalities and is a breach of human rights.
The Code prohibits any form of discrimination in the workplace. Individuals who are “Fit for Work” must be accorded equal opportunities. “Fit for Work” is when someone can carry out their assigned duties effectively without threatening their own or others’ safety and health.
Health and Safety
The safety of work varies enormously between countries, economic sectors and social groups. Every year more than 2 million people globally die from occupational injuries or diseases. Often it is the poorest and least protected, such as women, children and migrants, who are the most affected by unsafe and unhealthy workplaces.
Most countries have legislation relating to employee health and safety. It has become a fundamental responsibility of business to ensure that workers are not harmed as a result of their work. Health and safety management systems and programs are usually designed to cover direct employees, any contract or agency workers, and Members of the public (such as visitors and local communities) who may be impacted by a company’s operations.
A preventative health and safety culture can deliver substantial productivity benefits. These include reductions in injuries, illnesses and consequently sick days, insurance claims, premiums and regulatory fines, and improvements in staff motivation and performance. By contrast, poor management of health and safety has the potential to undermine reputation and commercial performance. Most importantly, it directly increases the risk of work place injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
The Code of Practices requires RJC Members to provide safe and healthy working conditions for all employees in accordance with Applicable Law. A number of specific requirements are listed, which include:
- Knowledge of Applicable Law and relevant industry standards
- Confirmation that each of the conditions for a safe and healthy workplace that are specified in the Code are in place
- Workplaces meet local building and occupational health & safety regulations and an appropriate standard of hygiene
- Formal process in place for employees to discuss, review and manage health and safety issues
- Appropriate fire safety devices and emergency exits.
Discipline and Grievance Procedures
Discipline in the workplace should be viewed as a way to correct problem behaviours or performance issues. Unfortunately, in some workplaces discipline can take an extreme form. This can include physical (corporal) punishment and mental, psychological, or sexual abuse. These and similar actions are considered to be violations of basic human dignity and human rights.
The RJC Code of Practices requires:
- No use of corporal punishment
- Employees are not subjected to harsh or degrading treatment, harassment, abuse, coercion or intimidation in any circumstance
- Disciplinary processes and standards are communicated to and apply equally to all management and staff
- Grievance procedures and investigation processes are clear to all staff.
Working hours are a fundamental component of safe and humane working conditions. The first ever International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention in 1919 was on working hours – stipulating a maximum of 48 hours per working week. Excessive working hours in manufacturing and extractive industries remains one of the most regularly raised issues by civil society and trade unions. In addition to concerns about exploitation and impact on family life, there are workplace health and safety risks from excessive working hours.
The Code requires Members to:
- Apply normal working hours in accordance with Applicable law
- Compensate overtime to their Employees according to Applicable law
- Provide all Employees will legally mandated leave
- Provide all Employees with at least one rest day in seven consecutive days in accordance with ILO Convention 14. Special circumstances can apply for fly-in fly-out sites.
Wage-related benefits vary by country, but often include items such as holiday, overtime pay, sick pay, health benefits, incentives and bonuses, limited family leave benefits with pay, and savings plans. In some cases, non-wage benefits may be provided to workers such as health care, accommodation, employee education, and basic services such as water and electricity.
The Code of Practices requires Members to:
- Pay all Employees a wage based on the higher of either the applicable minimum wage plus associated statutory benefits, or the prevailing standards
- Make payments on a regular and pre-determined basis in a manner and location convenient to employees (bank transfer or in cash or cheque)
- Include a wage slip that clearly details rates, benefits and deductions
- Not make any deductions without following due process
- Not force Employees to buy provisions from the Member’s own business or facilities.
General Employment Terms
The employment relationship is the legal link between employers and employees. It exists when a person performs work or services under certain conditions in return for remuneration. The corresponding legal instrument is a contract of employment, which may be expressed or implied, in writing or verbal.
It is through the employment relationship, however contractually defined, that reciprocal rights and obligations are created between the employee and the employer. It is also the main vehicle through which workers gain access to the rights and benefits associated with employment in the areas of labour law and social security.
The Code of Practices requires Members to:
- Not avoid obligations to Employees under Applicable Law relating to labour or social security arising from the regular employment relationship.
- Maintain appropriate Employee records.
Community Engagement and Development
Community is a term generally applied to the inhabitants of immediate and surrounding areas who are affected in some way by a company’s activities; these effects may be economic and social as well as environmental in nature.
Community engagement is a two way information sharing and decision making process covering community issues and priorities as well as the concerns and needs of the business. Beyond just listening, the aim is to ensure mutual understanding and responsiveness by all parties to enable them to manage decisions that have the potential to affect all concerned.
Community development is the process whereby people increase the strength and effectiveness of their communities, improve their quality of life, enhance their participation in decision making and achieve greater long term control over their lives.
The Code requires all Members to:
- Seek to support the development of the communities in which they operate.
The Code also requires Members with Mining Facilities to:
- Have appropriate skills, resources and systems in place for early and ongoing engagement with affected communities and stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle.
- Avoid or otherwise minimise involuntary resettlement.
- Ensure that affected communities have access to rights-compatible complaints and grievance mechanisms at the operational level.
Use of Security Personnel
The primary role of security personnel is the protection of the company’s people, property, product and reputation. Whilst carrying out this role, security personnel require a wide range of procedures and associated training to ensure that security is provided in an effective and responsible manner. In some cases, security personnel are trained to enforce company rules, though under the Code of Practices this should not include disciplining employees. At all times, and particularly when armed, security personnel should use the minimum force proportionate to a threat.
Human rights abuses are more likely to occur in conflict zones. Extractive industries in particular can find themselves close to the front-line of conflict when operating in conflict prone zones. Mining activities can inadvertently trigger or sustain violence, or become the focus of resentment. The range of costs imposed by conflict on companies can be direct and indirect. Direct costs most obviously relate to the increased cost of protecting staff and property. Indirect costs are those that impact the operating environment, only to rebound as costs on the company. A ‘conflict-sensitive’ approach to doing business is one that seeks to avoid these costs by developing informed conflict-management strategies. Companies need to avoid any complicity in harms committed in conflict situations.
The Code of Practices requires RJC Members to:
- Only use armed security personnel when there is no acceptable alternative to manage risk or to ensure the personal safety of Employees, Contractors and Visitors.
- Ensure that security personnel respect the human rights and dignity of all people and use the minimum force proportionate to the threat.
The Code also requires Members with Mining Facilities to:
- Ensure that security risk assessments are conducted and security personnel receive training and operate in accordance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (2000).
Successful mining and metal projects require the broad support of the communities in which they operate, including of Indigenous Peoples, from exploration through to closure. Without the support of affected Indigenous Peoples, underpinned by free, prior and informed consultation, projects face significant social and financial risk.
Interactions between mining companies and Indigenous Peoples should occur in the context of broader community engagement but at the same time, giving special attention to the particular histories, capacities, priorities and interests of Indigenous Peoples. It is recognized that Indigenous Peoples play a vital role in sustainable development; that mineral development projects can help advance the economic development of Indigenous communities; and these communities in turn can play a vital role in the development of natural resources.
The Code of Practices requires RJC Members with Mining Facilities to:
- Respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples as articulated and defined in applicable provincial, national and international laws and their social, cultural, environmental and economic interests, including their connection with lands and waters.
- Seek to obtain broad-based support of affected Indigenous Peoples and to have this support formally documented, including partnerships and/or programs to provide benefits and mitigate impacts.
Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is the oldest form of mining. It is estimated that up to 20 million people in at least 30 countries are active in ASM and a further 100 million people depend on the sector for their livelihood. In various countries, small-scale miners are known by terms such as galamsey, orpailleurs, ubeshi or wabeshi, panners, diggers, garimperos, pirquineros and pocket miners.
The intent of the RJC standard on ASM is to encourage approaches which facilitate the co-existence of ASM and large-scale mining (LSM) operations and promote the development of legal, orderly, viable small-scale mining sectors in collaboration with host communities and governments. In some circumstances governments can take a lead role, in others NGOs or development agencies could be the facilitators, and in others LSM may need to play a driving role in encouraging reform. In each case, local communities and ASM workers should be at the core of a participatory approach.
The Code of Practices requires RJC Members with Mining Facilities which have Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) on or near their operations to:
- Participate in initiatives that enable the professionalisation and formalisation of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)
- Engage directly with ASM communities as part of the company’s Social and Environmental Impact Assessment and community engagement processes.
Companies of all sizes and sectors are increasingly able to achieve tangible business benefits from taking environmental protection seriously. Bottom-line business benefits of environmental protection initiatives can include reduced operating costs, reduced material use, increased worker commitment and enhanced brand values.
Leading companies now aim for effective integration of environmental considerations into planning, operation and decommissioning of all industrial activities. Companies looking at and defining their commitment to environmental performance have harnessed the same business systems and management approaches that make their overall enterprise successful.
The RJC Code of Practices expects Members to introduce appropriate management and operating systems to minimise the detrimental environmental impacts of its business practices.
Hazardous materials may be used or generated as waste at many points during the jewellery supply chain. Though definitions vary across jurisdictions, materials are often designated as hazardous if they are flammable, oxidising, corrosive, toxic, radioactive or explosive and pose threats to public health or the environment. Examples relevant to the sector may include mining overburden, gold beneficiation and refining wastes, electroplating residues, degreasing wastes, mercury, paints and solvents, used oils, electronics, batteries, refrigerants, and many industrial chemicals and cleaning agents. These materials, and others, all attract different regulatory conditions, depending on the jurisdiction.
The Code of Practices requires that RJC Members must:
- Not use Hazardous Substances subject to international bans
- Avoid the use of Hazardous Substances wherever possible.
Members with Mining Facilities must also:
- Comply with and be certified to the International Cyanide Management Code, 2005 if using cyanide in the recovery of Gold.
Waste and Emissions
Wastes and emissions are solid, liquid or gaseous materials that are released, discarded or no longer needed. Wastes and emissions can cause pollution and impact on the environment if not properly managed. In the jewellery supply chain, the main forms of waste include general operational waste, air and water emissions, and some types of hazardous substances.
The RJC Code of Practices requires that all Members must:
- Dispose of waste substances in compliance with Applicable Law
- Take steps to reduce the quantity of waste produced from their operations
- Seek to decrease emissions to air, water and land relative to production output.
Tailings and waste rock facilities are an integral part of many mining operations and one of the mining industry’s key challenges to improving its environmental performance. Tailings consist of ground rock and effluents that are generated during processing of ore. Waste rock and overburden are the materials that are removed to access the ore.
Diamond and gold mining operations involve a range of different types of mining processes in very different environments, requiring site-specific approaches to management of these large volume mine wastes. Risks can vary widely depending on type of ore, waste and site conditions.
RJC’s Code of Practices states that Members must:
- Ensure structural stability of tailings facilities and waste rock facilities to protect surrounding environment and local communities
- Not use riverine tailings disposal at new facilities. Any Mining Facilities that currently use riverine tailings disposal cannot be included in the Member’s RJC Certification. These Facilities will be excluded from the Certification, but all other relevant COP provisions apply.
- Not use submarine tailings disposal for land based Mining Facilities unless specific criteria are met.
- Identify mining wastes to manage potential impact.
Use of Energy and Natural Resources
Natural resources such as energy and water are increasingly the focus of efficiency measures in business. Energy efficiency improvements are one of the most effective ways to create business cost savings. They can be implemented in buildings and facilities, production processes and end-use products. Businesses have also generated significant cost savings from more efficiently using and treating water in their operations and facilities. Other resources that businesses can target for efficiency measures include forest products (paper, cardboard and wood) and plastics (for example in packaging).
The RJC Code of Practices requires Members to:
- Seek to ensure the efficiency of their business operations in terms of consumption of natural resources
- Seek to identify and implement practices that reduce use of fossil fuels and associated greenhouse gas emissions from transportation (where transportation is a significant business impact).
Mining has the potential to affect biodiversity throughout the life cycle of a project, both directly and indirectly. The potential for significant impacts is greater when mining occurs in environmentally or socially sensitive areas. Mining is increasingly being proposed in remote areas that were previously unexplored and undeveloped for minerals, some of which are biodiversity-rich. The opening up of new prospective areas to mineral resources development provides an opportunity for the mining industry to demonstrate that practices have improved, including making ‘no-go’ decisions.
However, not all mining takes place in remote or highly sensitive areas. Some greenfield or expansion projects will be developed in relatively highly populated areas, industrial settings or regions that have been intensively farmed for many decades, where biodiversity is limited. In these situations, the focus should be on developing a sufficient understanding of local biodiversity and exploring opportunities for biodiversity enhancement with appropriate partners.
Despite the potential for negative impacts on biodiversity from mining operations, there is a great deal that companies can do to minimize or prevent such impacts in areas identified as being appropriate for mining. Being proactive in the assessment and management of biodiversity is important not only for new operations but also for those that have been operating for many years.
The RJC Code of Practices requires Members with Mining Facilities to:
- Not explore or mine in World Heritage Sites and ensure that their activities do not negatively impact directly on adjacent World Heritage Sites.
- Respect legally designated protected areas.
- Identify Key Biodiversity Areas within their operations and implement action plans to deliver biodiversity benefits commensurate with the level of biodiversity impacts.
- Not undertake an activity that will, or is likely to, lead to the extinction of a species listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as threatened with extinction.
- Rehabilitate land disturbed or occupied by Mining Facilities by adopting good practice techniques.
Legal and regulatory compliance is a primary business concern. Compliance with the law is a fundamental requirement of RJC certification.
The jewellery industry in general has many traditions and practices that have developed over time; is made up of many smaller businesses; and a high level of attention devoted to reducing costs. It can be a challenge to take the extra effort to stay on top of legal developments, especially if competitors are not doing so.
RJC Members need to understand and at all times act in a manner that is consistent with Applicable Law relating to their business conduct, human rights, social and environmental performance including, but not limited to:
- Bribery and facilitation payments;
- Money laundering and finance of terrorism;
- Corruption, smuggling, embezzlement, fraud, racketeering, transfer pricing and tax evasion;
- Trading practices and consumer rights;
- Human rights;
- Child labour;
- Employment terms and conditions including occupational health & safety;
- Environmental management;
- Community and social impact;
- Consumer health safety and environmental product information.
Business partners are organisations or businesses – such as contractors, suppliers, customers and joint venture partners – with which Members have direct business relations, and that buy and/or sell a product or service that directly contributes to the extraction, manufacture or sale of diamond and/or gold jewellery products.
The Code of Practices requires RJC Members to consider risks related to business ethics, human rights, social and environmental practices of significant Business Partners which have the potential to impact the Members’ own practices arising from such relationships.
Based on this risk assessment, Members are to use their best endeavours, consistent with their ability to influence, to promote responsible business practices among their Business Partners. Contractors working on the Member’s Facilities and Visitors must comply with the Member’s management and operating systems relevant to the Code of Practices.
Impact assessment plays a critical role in a sustainable approach to developing and operating Mining Facilities. Considering impacts, benefits and mitigation strategies from a variety of perspectives, and from the beginning to the end of operations, these processes encourage a ‘whole-of-mine-life’ approach to the design, construction, operation and closure of a mine.
The purpose of an impact assessment is to identify, analyse and evaluate effects from a project and to identify measures to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive impacts. The scale and detail of impact assessments should be proportional to the activities and their impacts, and the effects of indirect and cumulative impacts should be considered. Since mines have a finite life, the assessment process should include an analysis of options for and impacts of mine closure. Thus the timeframe for the assessment should cover during and beyond the lifetime of a mine, addressing local needs and priorities.
The RJC Code of Practices requires that Members with Mining Facilities engage with affected communities and stakeholders to complete an environmental and social impact assessment, and associated environmental and social management plans. The Impact Assessment section of the COP is applicable to proposed new Mining Facilities and to proposed significant changes to existing Mining Facilities that have the potential to affect local communities and the surrounding environment.
Mine Closure Planning
The closure of mine sites needs to be planned as carefully as their opening. What happens at a site after it is closed is what ultimately defines its long-term impact on, and contribution to, an area’s social, economic and institutional development. An integrated approach to closure takes the environmental, economic and social considerations into account from an early stage and continues throughout a mine site’s life. Fundamental to this approach is the need to consider closure as a core part of the business. New mine sites require a closure plan from start-up and existing facilities need to put in place a comprehensive plan to comply with RJC’s Code of Practices.
The RJC Code of Practices requires that Members with Mining Facilities will:
- Prepare and regularly review a mine closure plan in relation to each Mining Facility, and ensure that adequate resources, including financial resources, are available to meet closure and rehabilitation requirements.
- Engage regularly with local stakeholders in relation to each Mining Facility, including Indigenous Peoples, communities, ASM, employees and regulators, regarding mine closure and rehabilitation plans.
Sustainability reporting is a process for publicly disclosing an organization’s economic, environmental, and social performance. The term “sustainability reporting” is synonymous with citizenship reporting, social reporting, triple-bottom line reporting and other terms that encompass the economic, environmental, and social aspects of an organization’s performance.
The need for a similar common framework for sustainability reporting led to the development of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI was launched in 1997 and has become the global voluntary standard in sustainability reporting. The GRI’s vision is that reporting on economic, environmental and social performance by all organizations is as routine and comparable as financial reporting. As of January 2009, more than 1500 companies use the GRI Guidelines to frame their sustainability reporting.
The RJC Code of Practices requires that Members with Mining Facilities report annually on their sustainability performance using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines and GRI Mining and Metals Sector Supplement. The reports must have external assurance as defined by the GRI.