Not Your Parent's Jeweller
FTJCo is a women-led, triple bottom line company, which means that in all of our business dealings, we look at the cost of doing business in terms of People, Planet & Profit.
As a certified B Corporation, we have taken this ethos beyond what most companies do, by changing our articles of incorporation so that the company exists not for the benefit of our shareholders, but for our stakeholders. This may seem like a small thing, but it allows us to work on projects and problems that may never increase shareholder value (and may actually decrease it), but may increase our positive impact upon people and the environment.
You can imagine our stakeholders as a series of concentric circles starting with all of the great people who work at FTJCo and radiating outward to the Cabbagetown neighbourhood of Toronto where we support a kids soccer team, the local boxing club for at-risk youth and the annual neighbourhood festival, to the Toronto community at large where we support multiple YWCA programs. Beyond the local, our stakeholders extend from our NGO partner in the Just Gold program, IMPACT and the small scale gold miners who mine the gold we use in our rings; to Fair Congo, an activist company in that is helping build legal, sustainable supply chains in the Democratic Republic of Congo, supporting local development programs in commodities such as gold, coffee and cocoa as well as arts and culture.
The economy of the jewellery industry is largely driven by women and yet, behind the scenes, it is incredibly hostile to women (sadly, the public only hears about it when it gets so bad, women have to go to court).
We want to change that and many other intellectual inconsistencies (sometimes a polite word for lies), that our industry propagates in order to make money while paying lip service to serious, systemic problems.
Change from Within
We believe that we as an industry can only solve problems by talking to everyone, at all levels of the industry. We have served on the board of the Responsible Jewellery Council, which arguably represents the interests of the major players of the industry, to Ethical Metalsmiths, a U.S. based group of small jewellers which represent the grassroots.
The reality is that the publicly traded companies that dominate our industry are beholden to their shareholders. So the only way to change their priorities is through influencing the policy, laws and governance that affects their behaviours. And that's why we work closely with civil society--NGOs like IMPACT, and through them, their like-minded allies such as Human Rights Watch, Enough and Amnesty International.
One of the big problems with the jewellery industry is supply chain transparency, which is why we've spun off a separate company, Consensas, which is a platform for not just traceability, but also due diligence and impact data. With Consensas, we've built a platform that will allow all supply chain actors to report on data and share that data with the downstream, all the way to consumers. And we've built it for the industry, not just for FTJCo.
And that's a significant difference between what we can do as a BCORP vs. what others, who need to squeeze every dollar of profit out of their companies, to satisfy investors.
Policy vs Purpose
There is policy--which companies largely use to comply with standards--and there is purpose. At FTJCo, our purpose is a melding of policy+passion which can shape and extend policy beyond requirements to something we believe is more meaningful.
And that's our journey. And it began with a single step more than twelve years ago and it continues even as you read this.
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