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CSR – What the G&J Industry Can Do & Why Adopting CSR Strategies Brings Great Benefits

Published Date : Jul 3, 2017

It’s a well-accepted fact that CSR activities help build company reputation, brand image and business. What people don’t realise is that companies that are known for commitment towards CSR also attract employees with good values and work ethics and have higher employee morale, which is bound to lead to lower attrition rates as well, therefore saving on turnover costs. Research shows that today, besides looking for roles in their core competencies, people are increasingly looking for their jobs to provide sufficient opportunities to help others.

Source* Research Paper ‘HOW CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REDUCES EMPLOYEE TURNOVER: EVIDENCE FROM ATTORNEYS BEFORE AND AFTER 9/111’ states, “Investments in CSR create goodwill among stakeholders, and this goodwill buffers firms against adverse stakeholder reactions when negative events occur for which the firm has potential culpability (e.g. industrial accidents)”.

The direct and indirect benefits of CSR are indeed many.

What You Can Do Towards CSR:

CSR can be done through monetary donations, volunteer work, donations of products or professional services, or in any other way like working to help the environment.

For those confused about what CSR activities to undertake, when it comes to gems & jewellery—an industry with an uncomfortable history —there’s so much that can be done within the industry itself. Of course, a lot is being done already, towards moving away from past incongruities.  

A logical step would be to look at one’s area of operation for what can be done. Let’s look at common CSR activities in a few key sectors.

Cutting, Polishing & Jewellery Manufacturing: The industry has been linked with unsafe labour practices and even child labour in some parts of the world in times gone by.Bodies like Responsible Jewellery Council have brought vigilance and change.In today’s scenario,CSR could entail going beyond fair labour practicesto investing in the future of workers with high-level skilling, etc.

For this segment of the industry, CSR should encompass commitment to systems to bring traceability of stones procured, of supporting safe mining practices for gemstones and precious metals.

One should also work around manufacturing locations in areas of education, creating jobs, sanitation, healthcare, environmental protection, gender equality, etc.

RetailRetailers can start by ensuring the diamonds they source adhere to Kimberly Process guidelines. They should join and support organisations like RJC.

Sponsoring charities of choice is common among retailers. More and more international jewellery brands have been investing in CSR. Tiffany & Co. has been involved with marine conservation work for many years.

Another way retailers are known to undertake CSR with a direct benefit to their sales is by donating a fixed percentage of every sale to charity

Sponsored events likecharity balls, dinners, art or jewellery auctions, etc are other activities that reap good rewards in terms of raising money for charities, awareness for causes, as well as building on positive brand image.

CSR can be looked at as an advertising exercise for retailers, and part of marketing spend can be apportioned here with good outcome.  

Diamond Mining: Globally, mining companies operate under stricter environmental vigil and work to negate environmental damage.

De Beers, in partnership with government and Anglo American Zimele, runs its Diamond Enterprise Development Project for South Africa. DDC works in partnership with Aboriginal communities and protects Sub-Arctic wildlife.

Other focuses of mining companies are on labour rights, gender concerns, health & safety, HIV/AIDS, poverty eradication, and a sustainable system of production.

Tying up with NGOs or Industry BodiesMost often, manufacturers and retailers have every good intention, but don’t have the resources and skill to affect the kind of change they’d like to. Tying up with an NGO that works in an area a company is passionate about is often a solution. Beyond making philanthropic donations, one can work in close partnership, under the guidance and expertise of NGOs to really make a difference.     

Industry bodies like DTC have played a leading role towards beneficiation. Read about someinitiatives of the DEF (Diamond Empowerment Fund) at: http://www.diamondsdogood.com/

Get Creative with CSR:

CSR can cover such a broad spectrum of activities that one has the scope to really get creative! “Employee Matching Gifts” is a concept wherein employees are encouraged to make charitable contributions and the employer makes donations to match them, or in a predetermined larger proportion!  

Some companies hold contests for the best suggestions for CSR activities. This gets people to come up with very impactful suggestions.

The Benefits of CSR in a Nutshell:

Some ways that CSR leads to improved brand image, company reputation and business is by:

  1. Directly creating more sales. According to doublethedonation.com, 55%   of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.
  2. Creating opportunities for media coverage
  3. Attracting investors
  4. Boosting employee engagement with co-workers and the company through coordinating on CSR activities
  5. Encouraging personal and professional growth among staff, leading to a compound effect and positively affecting work quality and output.
  6. Attracting quality employees and lowering employee attrition rate 

Match CSR initiatives with your company mission and brand identity for optimal benefit:

You will gain the most mileage if your CSR initiatives align with your brand identity. It’s best to focus on areas that will make a high impact among your industry’s consumers and other stakeholders.

CSR works like no other activity to improve brand-image, and improves the image of the industry in general. Consumers want to hear about the good being done – particularly millennials.

According to statistics, 93% of the world’s largest 250 companies now publish annual CSR reports. So, let’s please do whatever we can towards CSR, and the last thing we should do is be coy about publicising our endeavours!



- By GemAtlas Team