By Michelle Graff
London--After more than a year of reviewing its mandatory member standards, the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) officially has launched its new Code of Practices.

One major change made to the code is an alignment with the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The updated version also features new sections on Provenance Claims for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals, Sourcing from Conflict-Affected Areas, and Sourcing from Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining.

In addition, the RJC has changed the structure of the code, allowing for easier navigation for members and the ability to connect relevant standards to their own business. Support tools have been revised to provide guidance for implementation.

In 2014, the council will accept certifications against either the 2009 version or the 2013 version of the Code of Practices to allow for transitions. The new code will go into effect in 2015.

The RJC began its multi-stakeholder review of the code last year.

The revision includes feedback from more than 500 responses received through webinars, submissions and market outreach across Asia, Europe, and North America, resulting in a code that “emphasizes RJC’s comprehensive approach to corporate social responsibility issues from mine to retail and the growing importance of responsible supply chains,” according to the organization.

“The new standard will continue to support current and future members in their efforts to manage emerging risks and provide assurance of good practice,” said David Bouffard, co-chair of RJC’s Standards Committee and vice president of corporate affairs for Signet Jewelers Ltd. “As a major jewelry retailer and RJC founding member, we are proud to see RJC meet these challenges for the sector and provide concrete tools for companies to tackle them.”

Concurrent with the news of updated code’s release, RJC announced that more than two-thirds of its members have reached the Certified Member level.

The RJC Code of Practices, as well as more information about the changes that were made, can be found on

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