Some exciting changes have taken place since I first visited the flagship store of Boodles, the prestigious UK jeweller, on Bond Street in central London in March 2017. Then, I was invited into a beautiful, century-old room to talk with the company directors about their efforts to ensure human rights were respected in each step of the supply chain from the mineral mines to the storefronts of this company with annual sales of US$86 million.
While the conversation was friendly, it quickly became clear Boodles was not doing nearly enough to responsibly find out where its diamond and gold were coming from, to monitor human rights abuses in its supply chain, or to inform customers about these issues. We concluded that Boodles’ human rights due diligence was “weak.”
But now, 18 months later, Boodles has taken important steps in the right direction. This month, the company published a new Code of Conduct, outlining human rights requirements it expects suppliers to comply with. This includes a range of labor rights standards, efforts to prevent contributing to conflict, and—for gold—a commitment to the internationally accepted responsible sourcing norm. Boodles has also published a policylisting countries it currently does not source from due to conflict or human rights abuse. The company has set up a dedicated webpagewith this and other information on its efforts to source responsibly.
While Boodles could and should still do more – in particular by strengthening human rights protections in the diamond supply chain through greater traceability and a broader focus beyond conflict issues – we warmly welcome these steps. For a company that previously shared almost no information on sourcing with its customers, this is a significant move in the right direction. Customers want this information and will thank Boodles for it.