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Fair Luxury at the RCA Plots Route to Ethical and Sustainable Future

The Royal College of Art is hosting the third Fair Luxury conference, a public event discussing ethical challenges in the jewellery trade. Fair Luxury is an independent group of change makers working towards greater traceability, responsible sourcing and sustainability in the jewellery industry. The conference on 11 July, hosted by the RCA, will bring together a range of speakers to discuss ethical sourcing.

‘Over the past decade, the UK has been one of the leaders in advocating ethical sourcing in the jewellery trade,’ explained Senior Research Tutor in the School of Arts & Humanities Dr Peter Oakley, who is helping to convene the conference. ‘We owe a great deal to the committed campaigners who have helped get us so far. Fair Luxury at the RCA will be an opportunity to celebrate those achievements, while acknowledging the challenges that still lie ahead and opportunities for a more ethical and sustainable future. As an innovative and socially engaged institution, the RCA is the ideal host for such an event.’

Fair Luxury at the RCA is an opportunity for those working in, studying or connected to the jewellery industry to hear about and discuss the opportunities and issues around ethical sourcing. This year’s speakers include Yves Bertan and Kenneth Porter from the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Mary Michel the Director of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of Edinburgh, and Estelle Levin-Nally the CEO of the international consultancy Levin Sources.

They will be joined by professional jewellers and gem traders from the Fair Luxury group and academic experts on artisanal and small-scale mining in the developing world. Dax Lovegrove, the Global Vice President Corporate Sustainability & Social Responsibility at Swarovski, will be outlining the findings of a recent report 'Women in the Jewelry Supply Chain' written by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) and commissioned by Swarovski and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Dax Lovegrove explained: ‘Advancing equality is crucial to creating a more sustainable and fair society, and it is clear that the jewellery industry needs to better understand the challenges women face in the supply chain and how best to design solutions that drive meaningful progress for women. At Swarovski, we want to promote industry-wide action and bring people together to collaborate to make a positive impact.’

Presentations will cover the extraction, sourcing and use of precious metals, diamonds and coloured gemstones. Attendees will also hear about ethical certification schemes and the recently launched online Ethical Making Resource.

Ethical and sustainable material sourcing are key concerns addressed and explored through material culture research in the School of Arts & Humanities and the Jewellery & Metal MA Programme. The Fair Luxury conference offers in-depth insights from a range of perspectives on these debates and demonstrates how they are expanded through creative practice and research across the Jewellery industry and at the RCA.

Full details of the conference can be found here.

Find out more about Research at the RCA and the MA Jewellery & Metal programme.