Modern Slavery Act

 

We are dedicated to creating a better Jewellery industry. Sophie Bille Brahe commits to respecting human rights recognizes its responsibility to respect human rights as stated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) though its code of conduct. Sophie Bille Brahe prohibits, and has a zero-tolerance policy in respect of, all forms of modern slavery in its organization, its supply chains and diamond value chain. Our policies explicitly condemn modern slavery, as defined in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, as it is link to human rights stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

This is a high risk in our supply chain and especially in gold and diamond mines, adults and children have become victims of forced labor and human trafficking. Forced labor is understood as a situation where an individual works involuntarily and under “menace of penalty.” Those who attempt to leave may face violence and other abuse. Human trafficking occurs when a person is recruited or transported by force, threat, or deception for the purpose of exploitation. Human Rights Watch found that in Eritrea, for example, conscripts for the national service program were forced to work indefinitely for a subcontractor of a Canadian gold mining company. In Zimbabwe, from 2008 to 2014, workers were forced by the military to work in diamond mining. Other studies have documented forced labor in gold mines in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Around the world, millions of people work in gold and diamond mining. The majority of them an estimated 40 million people work in artisanal and small-scale mines, which operate with little or no machinery and often belong to the informal sector. Artisanal and small-scale mining is often an important source of livelihood for these populations and accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the world’s gold. Industrial mining operations are also major employers; around one million people work in industrial gold mining operations. However, mining has also contributed to human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch and other civil society groups have documented a wide range of human rights abuses in the context of gold and diamond mining, including labor rights abuses, conflict-related abuses against civilians, violations of the right to environmental health, and other violations.

Modern Slavery Act

ILO Convention 29 defines forced labour as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person hat not offered her/himself voluntary and in addition to be a serious violation of fundamental human rights, exacting forced labour from people is a criminal offence under domestic law. Both adults and children can be victims of forced labour. Can be exacted from them by State authorities, private enterprises or individuals, and can occur in all types of economic activities and in every country. Migration around the world has increased and is ongoing, and this group are consequently more vulnerable and exposed to various risks, including a higher risk of exploitation.

Modern slavery is a comprehensive term used in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and covers slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, as well as human trafficking. These are violations of human rights such as the right to be free from slavery, servitude or forced labour and the right to freedom of movement and other human rights, which are upheld by both international and national legislation. According to available data and experts in the field of research, these crimes are prevalent and occur in all parts of the world and economics, and effect all sectors and industries, and are unfortunately observed in all types of economic activities. We believe that a commitment to respecting human rights are ensuring human rights due diligence must be systematic and ongoing. It needs to be fundamental part of any business.

Our Supply Chain

To help us respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral sourcing practices we use the guidance of OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. This Guidance is also intended to cultivate transparent mineral supply chains and sustainable corporate engagement in the mineral sector with a view to enabling countries to benefit from their mineral resources and preventing the extraction and trade of minerals from becoming a source of conflict, human rights abuses, and insecurity us understand and OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

 

Diamonds

Approximately 130 million carats of rough diamonds are mined every year, including both gem-quality and industrial diamonds; about 70 percent, or 90 million carats, are gem quality. Russia, Botswana, Canada, and Australia are the world’s largest diamond producers, and the 10 largest mines account for over half of the world’s diamond production. The diamond industry is dominated by two giant mining companies, ALROSA, a Russian company, and De Beers, which operates mines in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. These two companies account for over half of the world’s rough diamond sales. A handful of other mining companies–Rio Tinto, Dominion, and Petra–each have smaller shares of the diamond market. After rough diamonds are mined, they typically are exported to diamond trading hubs (or exchanges,) where they are sorted according to shape, color, size, and carat. We only use one trading hubs, located in Antwerp. The diamonds are bought rough and are sent to India to be polished. Once diamonds are cut and polished, they are sent to us. Mining companies often do not disclose the mines of origin for the diamonds they sell. For example, both De Beers and ALROSA, the two largest diamond producers, aggregate diamonds from multiple mines before selling them to their customers. De Beers sells rough diamonds from eight mines located in four countries (Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa). The company states that it provides clients with “complete and unequivocal assurance” that its diamonds are responsibly sourced from its own or joint venture mines, but does not identify the mine or country of origin for individual diamonds.

To prevent any negative impact in the supply chain, we only use diamonds from the The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Our diamond supplier is also a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council and are obligated to follow their standard towards conflict materials. To support our suppliers and the industry Sophie Bille Brahe will in 2021 start the process becoming certified ourselves with the standard Responsible Jewelry Standard.

Gold

Gold is mined in around 80 countries, with approximately 200 tons produced every year. The largest producers are China, Australia, Russia, and the US. Most gold comes from large, industrial mines, though 15 to 20 percent of the world’s gold comes from small scale or artisanal mines, primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Jewelry accounts for over 50 percent of the world’s gold demand, an estimated 1,600 tons of gold for 2016. The world’s largest industrial gold mining companies include Barrick Gold Corporation (Canada), Newmont Mining (US), AngloGold Ashanti Limited (South Africa), Goldcorp Inc. (Canada), and Kinross Gold Corporation (Canada). These companies operate large-scale mining operations that are highly mechanized. Artisanal and small-scale mining, by contrast, is labor intensive, with simple machinery. Gold from industrial mines may be exported directly to refiners, while artisanal gold may pass from one trader to another before being exported for refining. Gold refiners play a crucial role in the gold supply chain. Because the vast majority of the world’s gold passes through a small number of refiners, these companies are sometimes called the “choke point” of the gold supply chain. For example, just four companies based in Switzerland refine more than half of the world’s gold. Once gold is refined, it is sold to our suppliers.

To prevent any negative impact in the supply chain, we use suppliers which are members of the Responsible Jewelley council and are obligated to follow their standard towards conflict materials. To support our suppliers and the industry Sophie Bille Brahe will in 2021 start the process becoming certified ourselves with the standard Responsible Jewelry Standard.