Pamela Fierst – Walsh – Senior Advisor on Conflict and Critical Minerals and the US Representative to the Kimberly Process at the US State Department
What are 1-2 focus areas related to the jewelry supply chain that you think will be important priorities for the Biden Administration in the coming years?
The global gold supply chain is a real opportunity to have a positive impact on national security threats. It touches on transnational organized crime networks, environmental stewardship, counter-narcotics efforts, and terrorism – pretty wide impact, but not all jurisdictions have the exact same fact pattern. Policy makers are well-advised to look at how the U.S. domestic market can drive most sustainable practices, including through greater border controls, and to ensure it becomes its very own policy issue. Too often we tend to try to break it down to its smallest part, which can eclipse the global nature of the commodity as a concern. In addition to that, maintaining strong partnerships with the private sector to reinforce the importance of supply chain due diligence and responsible business practices as a reflection of how important these steps are for national security.
Is there something that you wish the private sector understood better about how policy/regulatory work is actually done in the US government?
It is a lot of different agencies with overlapping equities all trying to drive better results. Sometimes private sector counterparts have thought it could be a “one stop shop” approach to government relations. Alas, that’s not always the case.
What is one message you have for RJC members?
RJC membership is filled with so many passionate professionals. Sometimes, especially due to the number of smaller dealers, there is this sense that they are being singled out unfairly. In truth, there is no supply chain immune from the need for meaningful due diligence. The jewelry industry would be well-served to maintain its sights on the most comprehensive solutions, which starts with truly knowing where and how their goods come to market. Otherwise you simply get businesses looking to do the bare minimum, and this makes it worse for everyone.