A few weeks ago, we talked about Corporate Social Responsibility in China. Personal philanthropy is all the rage among the Chinese ‘nouveau riche’ at the moment, and consumers are increasingly conscious of corporate generosity- or lack thereof. But its not just China, consumers all around the world are calling for greater transparency and it may be time for high-end labels to pick up their game. Luxury brands have been surprisingly slow to respond to this attention to their actions, with a few exceptions, see Bulgari.
This week, the World Jewellery Confederation released a ‘Responsible Luxury’ report, analysing the development of CSR in the jewellery industry. Contrasting Tiffany & Co’s proactive efforts with De Beers’ notoriety for buying ‘conflict diamonds’, it has created a stir and shone some light on important social issues.
Interestingly, the luxury industry usually escapes regulation. With the exception of labour standards within individual countries, it is tricky to police the sourcing of materials from all over the world. Often consumers don’t actually think about where the materials come from. All this is changing. With increased attention to what goes on behind the scenes, it seems that consumer demand will regulate just fine. Brands such as Cartier, Tiffany, Rolex and Chopard can use their ‘Forever mark’, which guarantees their product was produced with integrity, in their marketing, and everybody wins.
Consumers don’t want luxury that has been tainted. There’s nothing glamorous about a human rights violation.