This paper will focus on the sustainability of the jewellery supply chain. Sustainability is a widely discussed public issue. The pressure to be sustainable will increase going forward, because of the wish by individuals, companies and governments to contribute to a better world. In this report we focus on the impact of different forms of sustainability – environmental, social/human rights and economic.
A sustainable environmental impact means that agents in the supply chain minimize the negative impact that their activities have on the environment by, for example, strong waste management policies, limiting pollution and lower use of water and energy. Another focus area of sustainability is social. The social and/or human rights impact means that agents in the supply chain respect human rights and improve working and living conditions in accordance with global and local standards. Our last focus area is economic. We classify an agent in the supply chain as economically sustainable if his/her activities are transparent, if the governance is strong and if the agent is not engaged in tax avoidance/corruption, round-tripping and mixing synthetic diamonds with natural diamonds without documenting that fact.
Moreover, we identify what forms of sustainability are important at the different stages of the jewellery supply chain namely: mining & refining, trading, manufacturing and retail. In mining & refining the impact of environmental, social and economic sustainability is significant. In trading, economic sustainability has a substantial impact while in manufacturing both social and economic sustainability are important. Retail is the final stage in the supply chain. This stage together with mining puts pressure on the entire chain to be more sustainable.