Jewellery business teams have requested the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) to make clear, and in some instances ban, broadly used advertising and marketing phrases like sustainable, recycled gold, and carbon impartial, in response to what they see as rampant “greenwashing.”
The requests have been made in response to an FTC name for enter on its Inexperienced Guides, which cowl environmental advertising and marketing claims and are being overhauled. The feedback acquired by the FTC might be seen here.
Essentially the most in-depth submission got here from the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, whose 21-page slate of suggestions was endorsed by the U.S. Jewellery Council (a consortium of business teams), Moral Metalsmiths, the Black in Jewellery Coalition, CIBJO, and 12 different teams. As of Wednesday morning, it has not been posted on-line.
Among the many teams’ suggestions:
– Ban the time period sustainable.
“The phrases sustainable or the same sustainability have been so used and misused they appear to have change into meaningless to the buyer,” the JVC mentioned. “Paradoxically, in some instances [they] have even developed into red flags for problematic enterprise habits by savvy customers, virtually robotically evoking ‘greenwashing.’”
The group requested the FTC to “strongly discourage” use of the phrase sustainable and “attempt to eradicate it from advertising and marketing.” It mentioned accountable can be a greater various—however asserted the time period wanted to have a “actual definition.”
– Keep away from recycled in the case of valuable metals and gems.
JVC argued that recycling shouldn’t apply in a jewellery context, since recycling has historically utilized to gadgets that will in any other case be thrown away, and jewellery supplies are hardly ever discarded.
“Bench scraps are reused, melee diamonds are despatched in for regrading, potential recutting, and resale, and even the carpets underneath jewelers’ benches catching metallic scrap and mud are despatched in for valuable metallic reclamation,” it mentioned.
The FTC’s present definition of a recycled materials would solely qualify for gold present in “electronics waste,” JVC famous, and “it is a fraction of the fabric that’s utilized in refining recycled valuable metallic.”
Recycled gold has been discovered to return from sketchy sources, it added.
“Finally, customers wish to make choices about merchandise which can be the least dangerous potential,” it concluded. “With the present recycled terminology, there isn’t a authentic manner for them to make these decisions within the jewellery business.”
– Disallow claims that lab-grown diamonds are good for the surroundings.
Lab-grown “diamonds are being marketed as sustainable … and higher for the surroundings. Neither declare has been confirmed to be true, and each are deceptive to customers,” in keeping with the JVC doc.
It mentioned that some corporations invoice their lab-grown diamonds as mining-free “with out acknowledging that the elements and tools needed to provide their merchandise usually come from mined sources, and that the dear metallic these merchandise are set in can also be mined.”
JVC additionally requested for “steerage on what mining particularly means to the surroundings and learn how to compliantly market merchandise which can be mined inside the environmental house.”
– Require extra details about carbon neutrality claims.
“Some carbon offsets could also be completely worthless and, as an alternative of addressing and decreasing local weather change, actively contribute to it,” mentioned the JVC’s submission. “Carbon neutrality certifications primarily based totally on offsetting don’t actively change what has already occurred in a provide chain and don’t certify whether or not an organization is decreasing its emissions.
“As well as, some carbon offset claims characterize emissions reductions that won’t happen for 2 years or longer. This can be a declare that’s too far faraway from its motion to be related to a shopper’s resolution to make a purchase order.”
JVC additionally referred to as for higher enforcement of each the Inexperienced Guides and the FTC Jewellery Guides, noting the warning letters the FTC despatched to eight jewellery corporations in 2019 had an “quick impact on the business.”
Additionally submitting feedback on the Inexperienced Guides to the FTC have been the American Gem Commerce Affiliation (AGTA), the Cultured Pearl Affiliation of America (CPAA), the blogger Recycled Gold Paradox, and Wisconsin jeweler Hanna Cook dinner-Wallace.
The AGTA submission additionally mentioned that recycled mustn’t apply to valuable metals or gems, and took goal at phrases like carbon-free, mining-free, never-mined, and regionally sourced. It differed from the JVC’s submission in saying the FTC ought to undertake the definition of sustainability proffered by the United Nations’ Brundtland Fee: “assembly the wants of the current with out compromising the flexibility of future generations to satisfy their very own wants.”
The Cultured Pearl Affiliation asked for brand spanking new steerage associated to calling nonagricultural merchandise natural, as in “natural gems.” It additionally referred to as for a brand new definition of sustainability, asserting that pearls stands out as the “solely inherently sustainable gem.”
“Recycled Gold Paradox” argued that the time period recycled gold is “broadly used to greenwash” and may solely apply to gold recovered from electronics. The rest, in keeping with the submission, ought to be referred to as reprocessed gold.
Cook dinner-Wallace called for the continued use of the time period natural gemstone to explain bone, horn, shell, coral, pearls of all kinds, and “every other substance utilized in jewellery that was produced by, or part of, a not too long ago dwelling organism.” She mentioned sustainable shouldn’t be used to described any jewellery product, however mentioned recycled ought to be allowed to “describe the repurposing or restyling of used and inherited jewellery.”
(Picture courtesy of the Federal Commerce Fee)
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