Many of the leading jewelry retailers in the United States have adopted voluntary sourcing standards to alleviate the negative environmental and social effects of gold mining. Unfortunately, aside from voluntary initiatives, the jewelry industry has yet to adopt widespread third party verification or certification of gold sourcing. Movements such as the Responsible Jewellery Council and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) are working to improve industry practices and policies.
Only with international government action and increased consumer support for responsible gold mining practices will the jewelry industry adopt binding standards for responsible mining.
Zales Jewelers, Gordon’s Jewelers (Zale Corporation)
Zales has a code of conduct that requires its business partners to conduct their businesses in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Unfortunately, little information about the specific expectations or practices is available to the public. Additionally, the demand that the company’s partners comply with national and environmental laws is insufficient for environmental protection due to lax environmental laws in many countries. Learn more about Zale’s gold sourcing policies here.
Kay Jewelers, Jared Galleria (Signet Jewelers Limited)
Kay Jewelers and Jared Galleria are a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (through their parent company Signet Jewelers). As members of the RJC, their gold sourcing practices are subject to verification by independent auditors.
Kay and Jared also support the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). Read more about Jared and Kay’s responsible sourcing practices here.
Fred Meyer Jewelers
Fred Meyer has been a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council since 2009. Recognition as a Certified Member of the RJC ensures third party verification of gold sourcing and chain-of-supply practices. Fred Meyer does not currently provide any information on their website about their gold sourcing practices.
Helzberg Diamonds has a corporate policy that requires its gold suppliers to refrain from purchasing gold that was mined in locations recognized by certain organizations as high conservation areas. This includes areas designated as International Union for Conservation of Nature categories i-iv. Helzberg does not provide information regarding its verification procedure. More informationa bout Helzberg’s social responsibility policies can be found here.
In April 2012, Target signed the “No Dirty Gold” pledge, and agreed to begin sourcing its gold supply from environmentally and socially responsible mining companies. Read about Target’s new sourcing policies here.
Wal-Mart, the largest jewelry retailer in the world, has begun selling its Love, Earth® brand of jewelry, which is produced under improved environmental conditions. Additionally, all pieces of Love, Earth® can be traced back to their mine of origin. Learn more about the Love, Earth® policies here.
Wal-Mart has established a working group with a goal of further improving its gold sourcing policies. Wal-Mart has also stated a goal of including recycled and repurposed metals in its Love, Earth® jewelry line. More detailed information about Wal-Mart’s sourcing standards and goals can be found here.
JC Penney has been a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council since 2007. Recognition as a Certified Member of the RJC ensures third party verification of gold sourcing and chain-of-supply practices. In addition to its membership with the RJC, JC Penney has a robust corporate social responsibility policy, which includes environmental principles. Although the policy, found here, does not specify the company’s gold sourcing practices, JC Penney does strive to adhere to all national and international environmental laws and improve its internal standards.