Signet Jewelers has become the only US jeweler to file a fourth consecutive Conflict Mineral report. The report was filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in accordance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The jeweler has been independently auditing the report since 2014 along with technology companies like Kemet, Philips Electronics and Intel.
The Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act asks companies to voluntarily disclose conflict minerals in and around Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It acts as a driving force for the conflict-free supply chain of Gold, 3Ts (Tin, Tantalum and Tungsten), Diamond, Silver and Platinum group minerals.
How Signet does it?
Signet helps in regulating artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations by funding organisations like Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), which ensures safe and fair conditions for its miners. It also takes initiative in building strong relations with its suppliers. This helps them create greater value for their millennial customers who are ethically conscious.
Signet has also released a Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol (SRSP) between 2013 and 2017, which allows the company to operate in high risk areas and establish best practices for the industry. The SRSP covers gold, 3Ts, diamond, silver and platinum group metals.
Signet became a founding member of the Responsible Jeweler Council (RJC) in 2005. This council publishes a best-practice guide for jewelry material sourcing. To make sure that all its suppliers are responsible jewelers, Signet mandates this certification.
David Bouffard, Vice-president of corporate affairs for Signet Jewelers says, “Signet has 200 major suppliers [of a total of over 800 suppliers], representing approximately 98 percent of billables. Nearly all of these 200 are either currently RJC members or in the process of becoming members. Since we began mandating RJC membership, Signet has not lost a supplier for this reason.”
Signet is presently using inventory management software to keep a track of the diamond supply chain, but tracking a diamond to its original producer store is difficult as many stones are traded several times before being used in a piece of jewelry. There are a lot of challenges and setbacks in the industry, but Signet wants to help identify and isolate bad actors and clear governance and transparency.