Standards Development & Harmonisation

Chain of Custody History of Development

In 2010, the RJC began work on a Chain-of-Custody standard to assist Members seeking to utilise chain-of-custody as a voluntary, complementary element to the RJC Member Certification process. The RJC launched Chain-of-Custody (CoC) Certification applicable to gold and platinum group metals in March 2012.

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) was established understanding that consumer confidence in jewellery depends on responsible business practices being applied throughout the jewellery supply chain. Therefore, the initial work of the RJC focused on the development of its Code of Practices, which set robust and auditable standards of ethical, social and environmental practices applicable to member companies throughout the jewellery supply chain, from mine to retail. All Commercial Members of the RJC are required to be audited by accredited, third-party auditors to verify their conformance with the RJC’s Code of Practices, and become certified under the RJC System. The CoC standard is an additional standard that is voluntary and complements the COP standard.

This webpage documents and archives RJC’s discussion papers, drafts of the CoC Certification documents, presentations and consultation for the Chain-of-Custody standards development process. We look forward to continuing engagement and implementation with stakeholders on this important initiative.

Recognised Mining Standards

There are several standards organisations working in the area of responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). While the RJC Code of Practices is open to application by ASM producers, more development-focused standards have been designed by these organisations to support the particular challenges of the ASM sector.

In September 2014, the RJC formally recognised the Fairmined Standard v.2.0 as a ‘Recognised Responsible Mining Standard’ under the RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard. The formal recognition of this ASM standard aims to further the work of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) with certified artisanal and small-scale producers, particularly in conflict areas. The benefits for these producers will include expanded access to chain-of-custody pathways through to RJC’s Membership in the jewellery supply chain. The recognition allows RJC CoC Certified Entities to source gold sourced from a Fairmined certified mining organisation, being confident in the practices at the mine, and thus contribute to the further integration of ASM into the formal economy. This builds on the recommendations of the ‘OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains – Supplement on Gold’ that all gold supply chain participants support legitimate ASM producers.

Recognition of the Fair Trade Standard

Fairtrade are currently in the process of reviewing their standards for gold. This process is expected to conclude in December 2014. RJC will review an update on the prior recognition of the standard  after the conclusion of their standards revision process.

For more information, please contact:

Chain of Custody for Diamonds - Diamond Sub-committee - Feb 2012

In December 2011, RJC announced that it would temporarily suspend the finalisation of the draft RJC CoC Standard as it applies to diamonds so as to undertake additional consultation with the diamond industry concerning the feasibility of the draft RJC CoC Standard. A Sub-Committee to the Standards Committee has been formed for this process and is developing Terms of Reference for work during 2012.

Stakeholders interested in this issue are also welcome to provide input and feedback to the RJC. To facilitate further consultation on these issues, drafts of the CoC Standard applicable to diamonds and precious metals are available. These reflect the input received from the 3 rounds of public comment, detailed below, during 2010 and 2011. The drafts can be downloaded below.

Finalisation of Chain of Custody Certification Documents - Sep 2011 to Jan 2012

From September 2011 to January 2012, the RJC has worked with its Standards Committee and Consultative Panel to finalise the Chain-of-Custody Certification documentation.

Key areas of work have been:

  • Enhancing support for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) activities in the jewellery supply chain via the CoC Standard. In particular, new provisions and guidance have been developed for ASM operating on the concessions of large-scale mining companies, and how professionalisation and formalisation can be supported.
  • Reviewing alignment with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for the Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas – Gold Supplement. RJC is actively participating in the Gold Supplement Drafting Committee and the Supplement is expected to be published in the first half of 2012. For more information on OECD’s work in this area, please visit the OECD site.
  • Clarifying due diligence requirements for gold produced as a byproduct from other metal mining, such as copper. Due diligence provisions will apply particularly to refiners who source low-grade processing residues which include trace gold.
  • Review of concerns relating to the feasibility of Chain-of-Custody Certification for the diamond supply chain, particularly with smaller diamonds (melee). Download the report on additional consultation in Antwerp, Belgium on CoC for diamonds held during the week of November 7, 2011.
  • A range of editoral improvements, editorial guidance and clarifications, in response to the comments raised in the 3rd Comments Report.

In January 2012, RJC received a submission from the US Department of State.

RJC delivered an update on the Chain of Custody standards at VICENZAORO Winter 2012 in Vicenza, at the SIHH in Geneva and at the BJOP in Paris in January 2012.

RJC continues to welcome inquiries and feedback on its CoC initiative.

Archive of Public Comment Periods

Chain-of-Custody Discussion Papers 3 for public comment – 24 Jun to 22 Aug 2011

RJC released a 3rd set of RJC papers for a final 60 day stakeholder comment period to seek feedback on the RJC’s proposed Chain-of-Custody Certification for diamonds, gold and platinum metals. The papers responded to the second round of consultation on the proposed Standard held during September 2010 – February 2011 – for a report on this stage see further down this web page.

Chain-of-Custody sessions in London and Las Vegas – May to June 2011

In May and June 2011, the RJC held an update on the Chain-of-Custody Certification at its Annual General Meeting in London, and at the JCK Show in Las Vegas. The sessions provided an update on key issues facing the jewellery supply chain and how the draft RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard aims to address them.

Baselworld Panel session – March 2011

In March 2011, RJC, Solidaridad and Fairtrade Foundation co-convened a Panel Session on Responsible Sourcing and Chain of Custody at Baselworld 2011.

Chain-of-Custody Roundtables – January to February 2011

January-February 2011, twelve roundtable sessions were convened with more than 185 stakeholders in the UK, Europe and USA to discuss the draft Standard and gather perspectives.

Chain-of-custody Discussion Paper 2 – September 2010

The purpose of RJC’s second discussion paper was to seek feedback on proposals for RJC to develop Chain-of-Custody Certification in the jewellery supply chain for diamonds, gold and platinum metals.

An initial draft Standard was laid out in some detail, to help facilitate concrete discussion about design and implementation issues. The draft Standard aimed to strike a balance between commercially realistic requirements and the critical objective of supply chain integrity. The RJC welcomed input on how the proposal could be further improved and provided a four month public comment period for stakeholder review of this paper, until 31 January 2011.

Chain-of-custody workshop – 18 May, 2010 – London

RJC Members and a number of invited stakeholders participated in a workshop in London on chain-of-custody certification in the jewellery supply chain. The workshop was convened following the RJC’s Annual General Meeting. The purpose of the workshop was to initiate a discussion about the issues and options relating to chain-of-custody and the feasibility of a voluntary chain-of-custody certification model. The RJC thanks speakers and participants for their contributions to an informative session, and looks forward to an ongoing dialogue on these issues.

Chain-of-custody Discussion Paper 1 – April 2010

An initial discussion paper was published on April 19, 2010 to initiate dialogue on key issues and options. This input was taken into account in considering the activities and potential timelines of the next stage of investigations.

RJC members and stakeholders were invited to review this paper and provide feedback. The formal comment period closed on July 12, 2010. A report on the input received and available to download.