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The importance of creating a strong and harmonized ESG and ethical certification

Charles Chaussepied, Compliance expert for the Richemont group and member of the Responsible Jewellery Council

Having contributed to one of the most ambitious intra-industry standard as the Responsible Jewellery Council, why, according to you, is it important to adopt a holistic approach when we talk about ESG and ethics?

Up to $ 7 trillion in annual investments in infrastructure, clean energy, water and sanitation will be needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The sustainability revolution has taken off and there is definitely great momentum behind it. The prioritization of criteria in all the value chains in many evolving industries is improving sustainability.

However, sustainability is a long journey, which requires taking multiple factors into consideration; a global approach and the motivation of all is needed.

Why ESG factors in the supply chain matter?

Quite simply put, most investors are demanding transparency and often times traceability before investing their money. Moreover, protecting the planet and meeting the SDG’s are now commonly shared concerns by the finance world’s actors.

How can we measure ESG in companies (portfolio companies)?

Benchmarks, standards and guidelines are now developed by either industry, trans-industries or by International organizations, like the responsible Mining Index, the responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), and the LBMA.

But along with these initiatives, strict controls and checks should be applied. A standard, such as the RJC or Label R can definitively increase transparency by applying a strong methodology to assess, control and check the different levels of a company from top to bottom, from bottom to top, and from the subsidiaries to the supply chain.

Why is it important to have a strict and harmonized certification for companies and funds?

Assessing and mitigating the risks are the first tasks for any industry or investor wanting to support an ethical and responsible approach.

Industries are presenting some specifics, but to be fully embraced by stakeholders, assessment tools and standards must be robust, recognized and certified.

Very few certifications currently meet these criteria, however some certifications, such as that offered by Label R, do meet the criteria. Label R is building standards, while adding the best provisions in each field - environment, transparency, integrity, human rights, working conditions, anti-money laundering etc. This will better facilitate assessment of ethical investments, while mitigating the risk linked to green washing.

About Charles Chaussepied

Charles Chaussepied is independent expert, member of Label R’s advisory board.

Charles has an international expertise in the sustainable supply chains and responsible sourcing. He is member of the board of the Responsible Jewellery Council since 2006 (RJC) and former Chair and Vice Chair of the RJC. Former deputy CEO of Piaget where he was Director CSR and Corporate Affairs, Charles was also member of the Corporate Social Responsibility and of the Reputation Committees of Richemont International s.a. for whom he still consults on compliance matters. Charles is now Vice Chair of the European Jewellery Guild.

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