Greenwashing – a recommendation
Over the past several months, we’ve been reading published articles talking about the problems in our industry with “greenwashing,” embellishing the realities of a supply chain that is hardly transparent, which makes it nearly impossible to make claims of “ethical,” “responsible,” and “conflict-free.”
Yes, there are many good people in our industry who are making great efforts to do the right thing. However, there are some in our industry who will make bold claims of ethical supply chains and environmental responsibility that cannot be substantiated.
Jeffrey Bilgore, gemstone merchant and former American Gem Trade Association president, has written on this topic and publicly presented his concerns in an opinion letter published in Prism Magazine, February 2, 2023, “Responsible Sourcing, Supply Chain Practices, Traceability & the Ethics of Greenwashing.” In it, he states, “We are buried in catchwords like responsible, ethical, sustainable, and traceable. It’s time to level the playing field with clear and singular definitions and direction on these terms, which are often misused as marketing jargon.”
He goes on to give definitions of “responsible sourcing,” “ethical sourcing,” “source traceability,” and “traceability.”
If you want to read a thoughtful feature on Greenwashing, here’s the link to Bilgore’s Letter “Responsible Sourcing, Supply Chain Practices, Traceability & the Ethics of Greenwashing.”
In related news, AGTA’s Industry Terms Committee just sent out a press release (see AGTA) making positive suggestions to the FTC regarding the problems of greenwashing, by defining “ethical,” “responsible,” and “conflict-free,” and by preventing companies from making unsubstantiated environmental claims.