In recent weeks, we read a lot about country-of-origin concerns in meat industry, which has spurred discussions about new regulations and improved label tracking and traceability for meat producers. However, similar discussions are being had in other corners of the business world – including the jewelry industry.
I encountered a column from Rob Bates for Jewelers' Circular Keystone (JCK), the top trade publication for that industry. In the piece, Bates writes that the ability of manufacturers to track the country-of-origin for certain materials will play a critical role as the sector's regulators look to embrace standardization.
For example, Bates notes the United Nations will remove sanctions on diamonds mined in Ivory Coast next year. Those sanctions came into effect in 2005 as an attempt to curtail the illegal export of diamonds from war-torn regions of Africa.
Despite the relaxed regulations, companies might remain sensitive about what types of materials they use in their jewelry. Violence in mining areas of Africa continue today, Bates writes, and new laws will require companies to publicize any information they have on the origins of their materials.
As a result, country-of-origin is as important a concern as ever for the jewelry industry. Led by pressure from major retailers, jewelry manufacturers must now adopt better supply chain practices to increase their label tracking and traceability.
As an outsider viewing the situation from afar, it seems the industry has a long way to go to achieve this type of standardization, but strides are being made by leading organizations. The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) is working on a certification system to grant approval to companies whose supply chain processes are of peak quality. In the meantime, individual manufacturers may want to take a proactive approach by learning what labeling solutions can do to increase the productivity and accountability in their own supply chain.