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RJC launches Ethics Code
Dec '08
The Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices released the implementation documents for the Council's system for certifing responsible ethical, social and environmental practices throughout the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain.

The Council also released its new logo and announced the adoption of the simpler trading name, “Responsible Jewellery Council”(“RJC”).

The Responsible Jewellery Council's certification system, also known as the “RJC System”, requires Members of the Responsible Jewellery Council to be audited by accredited, third party auditors to verify their conformance with the Council's standards, which are set out in its Code of Practices. Members who have been independently verified as conforming to the Code of Practices will become Certified Members of the Respnsible Jewellery Council.

The RJC System is expected to become fully operational in the 2nd Quarter of 2009, once independent auditors have been trained and audit firms accredited.

Current RJC Members as of 31st December 2008 are required to undergo independent verification by December 2010. Companies that join the RJC after 31st December 2008 will need to undergo independent verification within two years of becomin Members.

RJC Members with mining facilities will be required to undergo independent verification within two years of the release of the Mining Supplement”, which will expand the Code of Practices with additional provisions specific to the mining industry. The Mining Supplement is undergoing a public consultation process and is expected to be finalised by March 2009.

The certification system is set out in five core implementation documents that will guide Members and accredited auditors throuh the certification process. The documents, listed below, are publicly available on the RJC's web site:

• RJC Principles and Code of Practices, which defines the standards for the RJC System, against which Members are to be certified.
• RJC Standards Guidance, which provides general information and advice about the standards in the RJC's Code of Practices (COP).
• RJC Certification Handbook, which provides an overview of the RJC System and the requirements for achieving certification.
• RJC Assessment Manual, which sets out detailed instructions for Members to complete Self Assessments, and Auditors to conduct Verification Assessments.
• RJC Assessment Workbook, which provides the forms and detailed questions required to conduct assessments and perform audits.

“We are acutely aware that our industry is facing extremely challenging times and that companies must focus their immediate attetion on financial and operational issues.Nevertheless, the over eighty members of the Responsible Jewellery Council, from miners to manufacturers to retailers, remain committed to the importance of ethical business practices and reinforcing consumer confidence in the gold and diamond jwellery supply chain. Now more than ever, the industry must demonstrate responsible practices and protect its reputation,” says Matthew Runci, Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council and President and CEO of Jewelers of America.

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