Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

 

Thanks to the BJA for a very interesting seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility at the School of Jewellery yesterday evening. Their seminar entitled “What’s in it for me? Raising Standards in the Jewellery Industry” covered all aspects of CSR from ethical to environmental, employer and community responsibilities. bja logo Following a study of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter by Coventry University Centre for Trust and Ethical Behaviour, Simon Rainer brought together a panel of people to discuss Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). His long term objective is to encourage jewellery businesses to engage and to better understand the benefits that CSR practices can bring to companies of any size.

 raising industry standards photo

L-R, Simon Rainer, Gary Wroe, Gaye Penfold, Alan Frampton, Michel Allchin, Prof Marilyn Carrigan This is not just about ethical sourcing of product, it is exactly what it says on the tin – a responsible approach to everything a business does which can impact society. Speakers at the seminar which was facilitated by Michael Allchin,Chief Executive of The Birmingham Assay Office, indicated that while price, quality, design and choice are always going to be the most important factors for success, CSR disciplines need to be embedded in best practice for businesses to progress in the current climate.  It was suggested that the jewellery industry is a long way behind other sectors in this respect and the objective of the BJA’s current focus is to help members to refresh their thinking and keep up to speed so that they are not suddenly caught out by changing consumer demands and preferences. Gary Woe of Hockley Mint and Alan Frampton of Cred Jewellery illustrated the commercial and social benefits of CSR that they have experienced in their businesses and put forward a very convincing case.  The research conducted by Professor Marylyn Carrigan of Coventry University indicated that the businesses approached in the Jewellery Quarter were all in favour of CSR and recognised it as  “good thing”. Disappointing then that a heavily publicised free seminar in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, at 5.30pm as everyone finished work, was not well supported, and the majority of those who attended were from medium to large size companies who are already well on their way with CSR.  Professor Carrigan suggested this is because a common perception is that CSR requires a whole new start  and is difficult to  implement. In fact many small companies would easily tick some of the basic CSR boxes and would not find the exercise anything like as onerous as they think. If people would engage and understand more what was required they would suddenly gain confidence and begin to realise the benefits. These are the hurdles that the BJA are determined to overcome so look out for more information, training and awareness sessions which can only benefit our industry. Kathryn Bishop, Editor of Professional Jeweller found the seminar fascinating and left inspired to write at least one major article so hopefully the efforts of Simon Rainer and his team will be further publicised and have some impact.

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