Many companies in the gold industry claim to source and produce ethically. Unfortunately, most of these brands fail to provide evidence to back it up, focus exclusively on their assets, and tend to omit aspects that might affect their image. Here are a few tips to start building transparent claims and communication about your metal sourcing, taking as an example Fairmined certification:
1. Base your claims on third-party certificationS:
Back your claims with a third-party label and a rigorous certification scheme that can guarantee that your claims are assessed and verified by independent parties. Besides, make sure that your clients understand the scope of this certification. Your Fairmined license, for instance, only guarantees that you are committed to ensuring the traceability of the Fairmined certified metals you purchase. This license doesn’t certify your business practices in general. On the other hand, if you have for example RJC Code of Practice (COP) certification, it doesn’t say anything about the traceability or responsible origin of your metals.
2. Be honest about your level of commitment:
Be transparent about the metals you use, quantities, real numbers. For instants, becoming a Fairmined licensed brand and making claims is great but you need be transparent about your real contribution, the amount of gold you source from certified mines, or the share represented by this gold or silver in your overall sourcing.
Some brands claim to use certified metals “as much as possible” or simply mention that they use these metals without any additional explanations. You need to be clear.
It is thus important to clarify if you only use these metals for specific collections and products or if all your products are made of them. A best practice in the case of Fairmined licensed brands, is to be also transparent about your real impact on the mining communities by communicating the volume of certified metals purchased and the Fairmined premium paid. This will allow customers to understand the contribution they can make by choosing Fairmined metals.
3. Be clear about your on-product claims
For example, when you refer to your products as Fairmined products or Fairmined collection, make sure to clarify which metals are actually certified: the gold, the silver, if it is plated with certified gold, etc. If you use the Fairmined hallmark to stamp your piece, explain its meaning to your clients. It is also recommended to hand over a certificate of authenticity with the piece that will give the customers more details about the origin of the certified metal and the guarantees of the Fairmined standard.
4. Be careful when making sustainability claims
Certain brands might be tempted to label entire product ranges and collections as “sustainable”, without giving any additional precision and qualification. However, making such a claim should imply that the complete life cycle of the product is sustainable and that every element is socially and environmentally responsible.
So, instead of launching your next “sustainable jewelry collection,” you might opt to explain to your clients that your collection is made of gold extracted by an organization committed to protecting their people and the environment.
5. Know the people of your supply chain
The people who form your supply chains and how you engage with them matter. Know the people that make your creations possible and engage with them, this will allow you to understand their challenges. This starts by knowing the origin of your raw materials and the identity of the involved parties in your supply chain. The stories of the actors participating in your supply chain can also help your audience understand the challenges of building a more responsible supply chain. If this is vital for you, it is also crucial for your clients that deserve to know who mined and made their jewelry. Your clients should be able to understand the whole picture.
Building transparent communication and avoiding green and fair washing is a deep commitment that requires some effort and dedication to ensure that claims are based on facts and figures. But if you care about being honest with your clients, you will find out that transparency can bring satisfaction by building a trustworthy brand that can delight its clientele.
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