The MVEye team was recently asked about how the jewelry business will fair during the Biden administration and the top response was unanimous. ESG (Environment, social and corporate governance) will become increasingly important to all consumer-facing brands and critical to the jewelry industry.
As the new President has stressed his re-commitment of the United States to the crisis of climate change, added a science advisor to a cabinet level position and presented an administration that looks as diverse as America is as a country, there can be no doubt ESG must be top of mind for all companies, but particularly important to brands that sell to consumers.
Of course, the jewelry industry, steeped in tradition and slow to change, has had its challenges with key components of ESG. Transparent chain of product custody, environmental stewardship for the planet, worker conditions and pay and community support for where products are mined or manufactured, have all been challenging for key jewelry sectors like diamond and gold mining and jewelry manufacturing.
But a different tone is now being noted among the leadership in companies in the jewelry space and this will only be amplified as President Biden continues to push for greater sustainability across all industries.
Recent events of note in the jewelry industry that support THE MVEye team’s hypotheses include:
WD Lab-Grown Diamonds’ CEO, Sue Rechner, has gone on record as re-emphasizing the company’s commitment “…to produce high-quality, grown-in-the-USA, certified sustainable diamonds.”
A January 2021 research study, completed by THE MVEye and Christina Miller Consulting, showed limited consumer awareness of the origin of the gold in jewelry and the working conditions facing small-scale gold miners.
However, a significant number of respondents, when informed of the details of the gold supply chain in jewelry and the working conditions affecting gold miners, said they would pay more for certified responsibly mined gold jewelry.
Richemont, parent company of Cartier, Van Cleef and other luxury jewelry brands, is becoming more aggressively proactive, talking openly and specifically about its targets and goals in the fields of people, communities, sourcing, supply chain and the environment.
Tiffany launched its Diamond Source Initiative to provide provenance information for every newly sourced, individually registered diamond it sets. The move followed the launch of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, multi-stakeholder standards for responsible mining, to which Tiffany is a founding member.
“But jewelry industry players must be wary of greenwashing,” says THE MVEye’s president Liz Chatelain. “Today’s next gen consumer will be driving discretionary spend in jewelry for the next 40 years and they can smell greenwashing ten miles away.”