Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day, an opportunity to reflect on the environment and our relationship with it. This week we’ll be featuring several articles about how Stuller stands by its commitment to environmental standards and social responsibility. In Part I of this series, Alex Clement discusses the sourcing of metals and gemstones.
Style, quality, and cost are not the only considerations that drive Gen Y’s purchasing decisions. I know because I am Gen Y myself. We care about sustainability and social responsibility. And can you blame us? We grew up watching episodes of Captain Planet®, a show whose protagonist is weakened by pollution, and Nick News, a TV show on Nickelodeon® that taught us about ethically made products. When purchasing a home, we think more about how far the farmer’s market is than the house’s resale value. And we love eating at Chipotle, the brand that buys and promotes locally sourced products. Some might say the restaurant’s stance is financially risky, but with Chipotle now rapidly expanding overseas, the company doesn’t seem to be suffering.
So what does this say about the way we shop for jewelry? To put it lightly, we expect more. We are more idealistic and connected to the world than any prior generation. We know the world isn’t what it can be, and we want nothing to do with making it worse. Jewelry, just like every other product we buy, isn’t unaffected by social responsibility.
While it takes more work up front to review your vendor’s environmental stance, the end goal, we know, is well worth it. Plus, if you haven’t already gotten questions like, “Are these conflict-free diamonds?” yet, you will. As a retailer, boning up on your vendors’ compliance agreements is worth your time because not knowing could result in the loss of a sale.
Where do we stand? At Stuller, ensuring that our raw products come from sources that maintain the utmost humanitarian and environmental standards is paramount. We require that our vendors maintain policies and procedures that mandate social and environmental responsibility for both themselves and their suppliers. We would reconsider our relationship with any supplier if we became aware that it violated any environmental laws or contradicted our social commitment.
Our position on responsible mining procedures only begins with the mining process itself. It encompasses all aspects of gold: appropriate mining methods on conservation, remediation, fair labor practices, and proper refining. Only specific, branded gold bars or grain are acceptable in our production operations, and up to 98% of raw materials used in production are recycled internally. As an extra step, Stuller has chosen to be audited by SCS Global Services, an agency that tests for and ensures that we meet environmental, social, and supply-chain-management requirements.
The majority of our diamonds are sourced directly from mines in Canada, Botswana, and South Africa. Because we believe it is completely unacceptable to tolerate conflict diamonds and/or human suffering in any way, all rough and polished diamonds sold by Stuller Inc. comply with the Kimberley Process. We are committed to selling diamonds ethically and with integrity, giving you confidence in the diamonds you purchase. You, in turn, can assure your customers that they are purchasing diamonds they can feel good about.
We are also a proud member of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, whose mission is to promote the highest standards of ethics, integrity and professionalism in the American marketplace. The DMIA is dedicated to advancing and ensuring consumer confidence in diamonds and diamond jewelry.
Stuller abides by strict policies when sourcing its stones. Our in-house experts frequently visit our suppliers to ensure that they maintain socially responsible practices and that they comply with the US Patriot Act. Stuller also belongs to the American Gem Trade Association, which requires its members to uphold the highest ethical standards in their business practices. Stuller is also an active member of the American Gem Society, which is dedicated to both consumer protection and ethical business practices.
As a Stuller employee, I take great pride knowing I work for a company whose stance on humanity and the environment outweigh receiving awards or recognition. We want to be clear and upfront with you about our commitment so you can be equally transparent with your customers.
Are your customers asking about responsibly sourced goods? What’s your opinion? Share in the comments section.