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SIGNET, RJC AND RIO TINTO TARGETED IN SMEAR CAMPAIGN
10 February 2015

Timed to coincide with the lead-up to Valentine's day, a significant calendar event for jewelry stores around the world, a campaign is being disseminated which targets Signet Jewelers Ltd. and international mining company Rio Tinto, issuing the jewelry retailer with a "challenge" "to demand that its major diamond and gold supplier, multinational mining company Rio Tinto, clean up its mining practices so that they respect worker rights, indigenous peoples and the environment." The campaign is a joint collaboration between several organizations: Earthworks, IndustriALL Global Union, the London Mining Network, and LabourStart.

The coalition claims that "Rio Tinto is a notorious violator of labor rights, communities and the environment.  Rio Tinto's campaign to undermine workers' fundamental organizing and bargaining rights has recently been documented in the report Rio Tinto and Direct Engagement.  The company's abuse of human rights, communities and the environment has recently been profiled in the report ‘Unsustainable: The ugly truth about Rio Tinto.'"

They also call into question the validity of the Responsible Jewellery Council's certification process: "Although the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has certified Rio Tinto, unfortunately the RJC is highly flawed.  It is neither independent - it is governed by industry, excluding labor, civil society and impacted communities -- nor is it transparent as it is impossible for the public to determine whether an RJC-certified company complies with certification requirements, let alone international human rights and environmental standards."

IndustriALL Global Union's general secretary, Jyrki Raina, is quoted as saying, "Until Rio Tinto drastically changes its ways, the company will sully the reputations of all its major business partners. Signet is no exception. Signet says that its involvement in non-independent business-run social auditing programs is a sufficient response to our concerns. This is insulting to all those affected by Rio Tinto's anti-social conduct, not least Signet customers."

Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign director, Payal Sampat, is quoted as saying, "Nobody wants their symbol of love made with gold or diamonds that harmed ecosystems or communities. Signet can't provide a meaningful guarantee that its jewelry isn't made with dirty gold or gems. It's high time that the world's largest jeweler cleaned up its supply chain."
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