The Hidden Cost of Jewelry

 

Human Rights in Supply Chains and the Responsibility of Jewelry Companies

While continuing our ethical and sustainable research, we discovered this report on The Hidden Cost of Jewelry as reported by Human Rights Watch. The article reports on the real issues at hand in the jewelry industry while also accessing the world’s most well-known jewelry brands on a scale of excellent to very weak to no ranking due to nondisclosure.


How the World’s Most Recognized Jewelry Brands Scored

Excellent

None

Strong

Tiffany and Co.

Moderate

Bulgari, Cartier, Pandora, Signet

Weak

Boodles, Chopard, Christ, Harry Winston

Very Weak

Tanishq

No ranking due to nondisclosure

Kalyan, Rolex, TBZ Ltd.



Top 5 Very Bad Things our Industry Faces 

For us, it’s important to understand the industry-wide issues so that we can ensure that we’re doing our part to be aware and address them head on in our everyday practices. While more issues are raised in the report, the top 5 very bad things highlighted include:

  1. Child labor
  2. Illegal mining
  3. Dangerous and harmful working environments
  4. Environmental harm
  5. Indigenous people’s rights violations

We believe no end consumer would knowingly purchase a piece of jewelry knowing that it directly or indirectly contributed to any of the above-mentioned devastating issues highlighted by this report. And as an industry insider we must recognize that we have a responsibility to evaluate our own process and audit it continually to make sure that we're not taking part in allowing the true injustices in our industry to continue.

 

Top 5 Very Good Things We Must Do

Because these issues are a critical part of our company vision, we’re focused on what we can do to positively impact our industry right now. And because we are a vertical chain, we have the reach to change our practices once we find that they are harmful to people or the planet. Below are the top 5 very good things Boma is doing to bring positive impact today and onwards. Further information on our Code of Ethics:

  1. Implement the OECD due diligence guidance
  2. Implement conflict-free purchasing policies
  3. Partner with the appropriate third-party audits like Sedex
  4. Continue recycling in our supply chain and source recycled, certified precious metals from known mines or vendors we've audited in person
  5. Support our workers with living wages, benefits and long-term career support

Above: Images from family events funded annually by the Boma Girl Fund.

 

Impact from the Affordable Segment of the Jewelry Market

We’re extremely passionate about our work because we do see the grand opportunities for where our impact can positively influence our industry. Many of the highlighted jewelry companies in this human rights watch report are part of the luxury, fine jewelry sector where jewelry retails from $500-$30,000. We have dedicated our company to the segment of the market that has a wide reach. For items that are accessible to most people and retail from $15-$115. 

The positive outlook is that if we are capable of doing business successfully with our ethical and sustainable claims, it means that almost every other segment of jewelry from us upwards has the tools and resources to do the same. If companies are unable to, it has more to do with not having a business that values bringing equity to the full supply chain. 


Our Future

We recognize that by addressing some of these major issues in our industry we are just scratching the surface. This is why we see transparency and responsibility as a journey. Some of the ways that we’re partnering to expand our transparency and sustainability claims is to work with outside partners that help to evaluate our performance. Some of our current projects and partnerships include the following:

  1. B-Corp
  2. Provenance
  3. Provenance Proof
  4. Everledger
  5. Sedex
  6. Lift Economy