A new report, “All that Glitters is not Gold,” from consulting group Ardea International argues that major jewellery brands need to do more to address modern slavery in their supply chains. The report looked at the practices of Tiffany & Co, Goldsmiths, Links, F. Hinds, Beaverbrooks, Boodles, Cartier, the Signet Group, and companies under their control.
Edie.net notes that the report found that many of the companies investigated do not comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act’s reporting requirements:
“The jewellery industry relies on its luxury branding and messages to encourage consumers to buy their products, but their supply chains have historically been tainted with significant human rights abuses.
The report notes that half of the examined jewellers had failed to publish a Modern Slavery Statement on their website homepage, and only three companies fully meet disclosure requirements, Tiffany, F. Hinds and the Signet Group.
However, the Signet Group owns many subsidiary companies such as Pagoda, Zales and H. Samuel. Most of these brands link to the Signet Group’s statement, but fail to develop unique declarations, according to the report.
The report argues that for businesses to properly identify and reduce the risk of modern slavery across complex supply chains, more should be done to ensure they are mapped and audited.
The jewellry industry has long been tied to egregious human rights abuses and environmental damage, from the ‘blood diamonds’ that fuelled conflicts in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe to mercury poisoning of miners in Tanzania. Children working in mining are also especially vulnerable to forced labor and dangerous working conditions.
Notably, since Ardea International released its assessment and reached out to the jewelry companies for comment, Beaverbrooks and Links posted Modern Slavery Act statements on their websites, arguing that they are in fully compliance with the law.
Still, the authors of the report that too many companies are reliant on ‘voluntary councils’ to address human rights issues and few companies are going beyond the status quo.