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ICMM and Responsible Jewellery Council announce equivalency benchmark

19 August 2021

London, UK The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Responsible Jewellery Council have published an equivalency benchmark that compares the requirements of the ICMM Mining Principles with the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Code of Practices. This is the sixth equivalency benchmark published by ICMM, this work has been undertaken in recognition of stakeholder concerns around responsible production, and the recent proliferation of sustainability standards. There are three key aims:

  1. Simplification – to support investors, customers, and other stakeholders in their understanding of how these standards address a range of sustainability concerns, and the extent to which there are similarities and differences between them. 
  2. Efficiency - to make self-assessment and/or 3rd party validation processes more efficient for mining companies, including situations where validation is conducted for two or more standards at the same time.  
  3. Transparency - to promote transparency around mining and metals sector standards and validation processes.

To assess the degree of equivalency, ICMM and the RJC have collectively evaluated whether each individual requirement from both standards ‘exceeds’, ‘meets’, ‘partially meets’, or ‘does not meet’ those of the other standard. While both standards share the same objectives of improving environmental, social and governance practices at the operational level, there are points of difference and similarity which the benchmark highlights.

In several areas, RJC’s requirements go beyond what is required by the Mining Principles. For example, in employment practices, RJC has more stringent requirements relating to the handling of disciplinary procedures and in setting limits on hours worked where these are not prescribed by law. In other areas, the reverse holds true. ICMM has more stringent requirements in a few environmental areas, such as the integration of water considerations into business planning and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, we found that overall there is a high degree of equivalency between the two standards, with 25 of 38 performance areas in the Mining Principles met by the RJC’s Code of Practices.

We are very pleased to share our sixth equivalency benchmark, and I want to thank the Responsible Jewellery Council for their collaboration and support at each stage of this process. This work remains a critical step in simplifying the disclosure process for those companies implementing one or more standards at once and provides reassurance for stakeholders that raw materials are being produced responsibly. Through this work, the mining industry has already shown it can lead the way on joined up approaches to performance and disclosure and I look forward to seeing how this continues to evolve in future.

The RJC is delighted to confirm the joint recognition of our Code of Practices and the ICMM’s Mining Principles. The transformational change vital for responsible and sustainable supply chains demands collective effort. Cross-recognition and harmonisation of standards is crucial. The RJC believes in concerted action, leveraging the strength of our partnerships. The interoperability of standards unleashes powerful synergies to magnify on-the-ground impact. In fact, the future of our industry depends on it. This joint recognition has been achieved through a dedicated partnership between the RJC and the ICMM and has emphasised the importance of equivalency along with its benefits including audit efficiency for members.

The recent proliferation of sustainability standards reflects the justifiable demand from investors, consumers, and other stakeholders for evidence that critically important metals and minerals are being produced responsibly. This was a key consideration when we developed ICMM’s enhanced membership requirements, our Mining Principles, and from the outset we committed to understanding the degree of alignment with other responsible sourcing standards.


Notes to Editor

Previously published equivalency benchmarks including the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program, the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), the Responsible Mineral Initiative’s Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) and the Copper Mark can be found here.

About ICMM

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is an international organisation dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry. Bringing together 28 mining and metals companies and over 35 regional and commodities associations, it strengthens environmental and social performance and serves as a catalyst for change, enhancing mining’s contribution to society. Every ICMM company member adheres to its Mining Principles which incorporates comprehensive environmental, social and governance requirements, robust site-level validation of Performance Expectations and credible assurance of corporate sustainability reports.

About the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)

Responsible Jewellery Council is the leading standards organisation of the global jewellery and watch industry. It has more than 1,450 member companies in 71 countries, that span the jewellery supply chain from mine to retail. RJC Members commit to and are independently audited against the RJC Code of Practices – an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, coloured gemstones, silver, gold and platinum group metals. The Code of Practices (COP) addresses human rights, labour rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics in the jewellery supply chain. RJC also works with multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible sourcing and supply chain due diligence. The RJC’s Chain-of-Custody Certification (CoC) for precious metals supports these initiatives and can be used as a tool to deliver broader Member and stakeholder benefit. Through the implementation of the COP and CoC members contribute towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 agenda. RJC’s Roadmap 2030 is a framework for our industry with respect to the most impactful contributions our members can make through their supply chains. Impacts deepen consumer confidence and are linked to priority SDGs, they are presented according to the five pillars of sustainable development – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships. In April 2021, RJC launched the SDG Taskforce, an industry-wide action platform to advance the sustainability agenda and benchmark progress in the jewellery and watch supply chain.

RJC is a Full Member of the ISEAL Alliance – the global association for sustainability standards and RJC is a member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2009. RJC and UNGC entered into a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership in 2020 and launched the ‘SDG Innovation & Impact in the Jewellery Industry” programme. In 2021 RJC deepened this commitment by supporting the UNGC SDG Ambition global impact initiative to accelerate integration of the 17 SDGs into core business management. SDG Ambition enables companies to move beyond incremental progress and step-up transformative change – unlocking business value, building business resilience, and enabling long-term growth.

Media contact

Molly Stewart
Communications specialist
+44 (0)7887 778 794

Olivia Saunders-Smith
Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator
Responsible Jewellery Council
+44 (0)20 7321 0992