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RJC (Responsible Jewelery Council)
The Responsible Jewelery Council (RJC) is an international association of companies from the gold and jewelery industry from the mine to the retailer.
The association, which has existed since 2005, aims to strengthen trust in the jewelry industry by promoting responsible corporate practice throughout the supply chain. It is one for small and medium-sized companies.
In a declaration of commitment for corporate practice, the so-called Code of Practices, companies commit themselves to a number of standard principles in four general fields:
• Business ethics: Prohibition of corruption, smuggling, embezzlement and kickbacks as well as prohibition of money laundering and terrorist financing on the basis of existing UN and OECD conventions, certification according to the criteria of the Kimberley Process for the Prohibition of Conflict and War Diamonds (Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, KPCS) , Product safety, product integrity;
• Compliance with human rights and social responsibility (see below);
• Environmental responsibility: environmental protection, handling of hazardous substances, waste and the use of energy and natural resources;
• Management systems: binding to existing legal bases, corporate policy and business relationships.
The implementation of the requirements for the recognition of human rights and social responsibility is based on the core labor standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Charter of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the globally recognized standard SA8000 for social management systems. This includes:
• Abolition of child and forced labor
• A maximum of 48 hours of work per week with one day off per week
• Prohibition of racial, gender and religious discrimination
• Freedom of assembly
• Guarantee of livelihood wages
• Demand and introduction of decent working conditions
• Systematic improvement of health and working conditions in the company
• External documentation
All points must be observed in the entire supply and production chain. Members enter into a voluntary commitment, which in a first step is checked by the companies themselves for compliance with the requirements of the Code of Practices. It must cover all activities and components of the company that fall under the requirements of the standard.
Self-regulation includes, for example, a list of all contracted producers. Areas in which the self-assessment reveals deviations from the Code of Practices should be made the core of an action plan that is intended to remedy these deficiencies. The self-examination serves as preparation for the certification audit.
In a second step, the self-audit is checked on site by an independent auditor approved by the RJC. For areas where the audit reveals deviations from the Code of Practices, action must be taken to correct them. The auditor must agree to these measures.
The independent examination must take place within two years of the start of membership in RJC, otherwise there is a risk of being excluded from the system.
The examiner gives the RJC a recommendation as to whether the certification can be granted. The RJC checks whether the certification has expired correctly. If this is the case and the recommendation is positive, the company is awarded the certificate by the RJC management team for three years.
In the case of major deviations, the certificate is only issued for one year; a management plan for eliminating the irregularities must be available. In the event of gross violations, sanctions can be imposed and no certificate will be issued.
The principles of the Responsible Jewelery Council on social responsibility relate to the implementation of environmental and social management systems in companies in the gold and jewelery industry. This applies above all to the area of business activity of a company with the guiding principle of corporate governance and fair trading as well as its relationships along its supply and production chains.
The demands for the recognition of human rights and social responsibility are based on internationally recognized instruments and standards for occupational health and safety as well as social security in the workplace.
Since 2012, the RJC has also been offering a chain of custody standard for gold and platinum metals (Chain of Custody, COC). This formulates requirements for human rights, working conditions, environmental impact and ethical business practices along the entire supply chain.
The standard is not mandatory for RJC members and is controlled and certified when used in a similar way as the standard for corporate practice.
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