Garry Holloway of Holloway Diamonds
Australian first for Holloway Diamonds
Melbourne’s Holloway Diamonds has become the first Australian business
to become a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
The last few weeks have been frenzied for Garry Holloway, founder and owner Holloway Diamonds, as he strove to get his retail business fit for the audit that is required for full RJC membership. After the intensive two-day examination, which analysed the business across a range of criteria, including safe working environment and business ethics, Holloway became the first fully RJC certified independent jewellery retailer in Australia.
He told Jeweller while the process was painstaking; it was worthwhile for many reasons.
“It’s a self-imposed jewellery industry standardisation program, one designed to make sure every part of our business is ethical, and that work is safe and complies with all laws,” Holloway said.
Holloway operates two stores in Melbourne and explained that, “It was quite a rigorous process, a good process, we found we had an old container hidden out back with cyanide used for gold stripping, we thought we’d got rid of all this stuff. It wasn’t highly toxic, but you can’t flush it down the drain. We had to neutralise that.
“There were all sorts of things we found we had to change,” he added. “Mostly small things, like getting a better quality first aid kit. Now all of our staff appreciate we have a good safe working environment that has gone through this rigorous testing.”
Holloway highlighted staff well being as the major benefit for the retailer, but being certified also meant that customers could completely trust the product he was selling.
While other RJC certified international retailers like Tiffany & Co operate in Australia, Holloway Diamonds is the first Australian-based retailer or supplier to have gained certification.
RJC CEO Michael Rae said the global council was formed in 2006 in response to consumer concern about buying from ethically responsible organisations.
“The founding organisations, which included Rio Tinto, BHP, De Beers, Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Rosy Blue, saw the direction of the debate, they saw consumers becoming more conscious of what stood behind the provenance of what they were buying,” Rae said.
He added, “Jewellery is bought for what it represents, but consumers want to buy something that has no collateral damage, so this is an independent third party audit that confirms the business wasn’t involved themselves in the abuse of human rights, pollution, poor safety standards and more.”
Rae said that since its creation, the industry response has been impressive, with over 380 members from all areas of the jewellery industry joining up as members.
“It’s going exceptionally well,” he said. “The aspect that sets us apart from other organisations that apply standardisation in other products and commodities is that we are the only one that provides capacity for certification of the whole supply chain of an elaborate manufacturing process. What we’ve done with the RJC is allow individual companies to be certified against the standards of the RJC, a mining company differs from a retailer like Garry, but they can both be certified.”
Do consumers really care?
Posted July 10, 2012