| Hong Kong Jewellery 香港珠寶
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  • (From left) Jonathan Kendall, Victor Chan, Guido Grohmann, Ken Lo and Edward Johnson

Authorities promote responsible business practice

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) hosted a discussion themed ‘The Role of Responsible Business Practice in the Future of the Jewellery Industry’ co-organised by the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association (HKJJA) and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) at the 35th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show on 1 March 2018.

After the welcome speech by Ken Lo, chairman of HKJJA, industry experts including Victor Chan, vice chairman of HKJJA, chairman and executive director of Continental Jewellery (MFG) Ltd, Jonathan Kendall, senior vice president of Forevermark and Guido Grohmann, managing director of BV Schmuck + Uhren joined session moderator, RJC’s new director of business development Edward Johnson on stage to examine the importance of responsible business practices of the jewellery industry in the future.

The discussion highlighted the uptick in demand for transparency and accountability from consumers, the establishment of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the needs and consumption behaviour of ‘Generation-Z’ and the strong affinity to social media of the consumers.

Chan indicated that CSR in the jewellery industry in mainland China is a challenging issue as the country is still lack of formalised CSR initiatives like that in the West. However, CSR is drawing more and more attention in the Mainland which is largely driven by consumers who pursue sustainable products. Kendall added that consumers nowadays want to know where the gemstones are mined, cut and polished, a trend that the industry must embrace. Grohmann foresaw the next generation of consumers will take responsible business practices into account. Companies should be attentive to ethical practices to prevent viral boycotts on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. 

Echoing similar sentiments, Kendall pointed out that smartphones have dramatically modified consumer behaviour. To allay consumers, especially Gen Z who concerns over product transparency, the gemstone mining process may be documented, allowing buyers to check on the gem's provenance and information about the production pipeline.

When wrapping up the discussion, Johnson commented: “This is a thought- provoking conversation that highlights the need for continuous improvement within the jewellery industry to secure its future.” All of the panelists agreed even radical transparency may become a defining issue in the jewellery business. Each of the guest speakers there were invited to pick just one word which will play a vital role in the future of the jewellery industry; they said “trust”, “integrity” and “leadership”. 

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