Retailer Sustainability Toolkit

Retailers are the frontline of Sustainability

In this digital-first era, customers have already checked you out online before heading instore – if you’re not talking about how your business puts people and planet first, customers won’t ask. We’ve created a guide specially for retailers, to help you and your team get started with sustainability and understand the common terms used so that you can speak your customers’ language.

Building sustainability and responsible sourcing into supply chains

Would your customers buy a piece of jewellery knowing that it was made by under-age workers forced into labour in a hazardous workplace? Or that the materials used to create the product have been sourced from a Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Area where the purchase may have funded conflict or other criminal activity?

Probably not. But, how can you reassure your customers and suppliers that you’re the kind of business who puts people and planet first?

It can be challenging for a small retailer to build a legitimate sustainable supply chain and know how to train frontline service staff how to handle customer enquiries with meaningful and reliable answers. This guide has been created to get you started and provides a step-by-step approach to establish responsible business sourcing practices and product disclosure. 

It can be challenging for a small retailer to build a legitimate sustainable supply chain and know how to train frontline service staff how to handle customer enquiries with meaningful and reliable answers. This guide has been created to get you started and provides a step-by-step approach to establish responsible business sourcing practices and product disclosure.

Who is this toolkit for?

This toolkit is for the use of retailers and their employees on how to engage with their supply chain on issues surrounding sustainability. By sustainability we mean actions and practices that ensure your business does good for people and the planet and maintains consumer trust to support its long-term business. This guide provides some quick steps on actions to take, questions to ask and explanation of key topics and terms.

Why has this toolkit been created?

Would your customers buy a piece of jewellery knowing that it was made by under-age workers forced into labour in a hazardous workplace? Or that the materials used to create the product have been sourced from a Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Area where the purchase may have funded conflict or other criminal activity?

Probably not… and customers are increasingly looking for assurance either online or at the point of sale about the provenance, nature, characteristics of the materials and whether Human Rights have been respected throughout the supply chain.

It can be challenging for a small retailer to know how to obtain all the information to handle such queries especially if they are sourcing from larger business partners who may sometimes be reluctant to provide this. It is also important to consider how to train store personnel to respond enquiries and provide information to customers and other interested parties.

Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has developed this guide to support retailers in their first steps to establish responsible business sourcing practices and product disclosure.

Through your actions on the ground, you are contributing to the bigger global agenda – the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We encourage you to start the journey with a step-by-step process, to learn more, and do more.

What can I expect to find in the Retailer Sustainability Toolkit?

This guide is just the beginning and provides some practical guidance to understand:

  • What the issues are and why your customers are concerned.
  • How to assess risks in your own operations and in your supply chain and ensure that you are sourcing products from suppliers who can provide evidence to support your promise to consumers.
  • Whether there are risks of abuses in your supply chain and what you should do in that case.
  • What product information should be provided to customers.

There is also a sample template to help you develop communications that can be used to train your teams and be shared with your customers at the point of sale.

We wish you all the best in your journey of continuous improvement in integrating sustainability at the heart of your company’s business strategy.

Can I get certified?

When you are ready, we would welcome you joining Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) to continue your journey and implement a sustainability program and continuous improvement. We have a dedicated team that can support you in the implementation of our Code of Practices (COP) and Chain of Custody (COC). Today we are proud to have a community of leaders, with over 1,450 members in 71 countries.

We would also welcome feedback from you on how this guide has helped you, and we welcome any suggestions at: consultation@responsiblejewellery.com.

We wish you all the best in your journey of continuous improvement in integrating sustainability at the heart of your company’s business strategy.

Toolkit

Retailer Sustainability Toolkit

This toolkit has been created to break down industry jargon and support you in building a sustainable supply chain and how to talk to customers about the steps you’re taking to put people and planet first.