WJI 2030 Insights Newsletter: Nov 2023

Monica Vinader: A Responsibility to Go Above and Beyond

In a recent trip to Norfolk, our Executive Director Iris Van der Veken visited WJI 2030 member Monica Vinader, to have inspiring conversations on their journeys, progress made and challenges overcome, and the legacies Monica Vinader want to leave behind. 

Tell us a bit about the mission of Monica Vinader? What have been the key milestones in your journey of growth?

At Monica Vinader we consider it our responsibility to go above and beyond, leading meaningful change in the jewellery industry and inspiring other brands to follow suit. We continuously update our sustainability roadmap to reflect this, making it more ambitious to proactively address climate change, transparency, equality, inclusivity and community outreach.

We’re always working towards our next milestone, but it’s important to celebrate how far we’ve come. We’re proud to be one of the first brands taking part in a gender-focused pilot programme with the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. We’ve also published an initial gender pay gap report, and promise enhanced maternity and adoption policies, as well as paid leave during menopause and fertility treatment.

Circularity also remains a key focus for us, ensuring we’re minimising waste and maximising use. We’re proud of our well-developed quality control checks to ensure product longevity, as well as our 5-year warranty, lifetime repairs service, new jewellery care kit and recycling scheme.

For our community, we’re excited to announce new partnerships, including our work experience programme with Oasis Academy, and new staff volunteering opportunities with The Felix Project, Hackney City Farm, Norfolk Hospice and Transforming Local Communities.

Why did you join WJI 2030? How does this initiative contribute to your strategy acceleration?

The Watch & Jewellery Initiative strives to unite the industry, fostering collective and collaborative efforts to deliver impact along the entire value-chain. Monica Vinader strongly supports the sentiment that in order to deliver on the 2030 agenda, we must act together.

Being a member of WJI 2030 provides access to a multi-stakeholder community focused on accelerating positive impact towards the 2030 agenda. Members have an opportunity and a direct leadership role in shaping the future of the global watch & jewellery industry through their actions and collaboration with other members, suppliers  and industry at large.

You are leading the way on Women Empowerment. You are a signatory of the WEPs, and you recently took part in the pilot with WJI 2030 and UN Women on gender responsive procurement? Can you share a bit of your learnings?

In 2023, UN Women introduced the WEPs Gender-Responsive Procurement Assessment Tool to help companies gauge their progress on GRP policies and practices. To test this Tool, UN Women partnered with the Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 to launch a pilot programme that evaluates gender-responsive procurement in the jewellery industry.

As a member of the Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030, we were invited to take part in a pilot programme with the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, which aims to improve gender-responsive procurement throughout the industry value-chain.

Some of the key learnings for Monica Vinader included: the need to collect more data around our gender responsive procurement and year spend on women and minority owned businesses; Investing a specific proportion of our supplier budget into women-owned businesses; Creating a company-wide designated procurement policy.

The coloured gemstones industry needs to push more transparency on origin, how are you engaging on this topic?

At Monica Vinader, it’s important to know exactly where our jewellery comes from so that we can manage and improve the social and environmental impact of every level of our supply chain.

Our industry-leading transparency initiative lets you trace the origin of our jewellery from conception to completion. In October 2022, we launched Product Passport with 50 styles, partnering with Ennovie – the world’s first net-zero jewellery manufacturer to implement blockchain traceability. Since then, we’re proud to have onboarded another manufacturer, sharing this innovative technology. We’ll be releasing more traceable styles in the near future, with the long-term goal of tracing every one of our products

Whilst working towards new milestones, we also want to share the progress they have made, with increased gemstone traceability by 30%, resulting in 51% gemstone traceability in total, and an expanding Product Passport traceability initiative, onboarding another long-term manufacturing partner.

Congratulations on the creation of Monica’s Meadow – a 7 hectare arable field being converted into a diverse, species rich wildflower meadow. A process that will take 5 years. Why did you initiate this and what is your dream in what you can achieve with this project?

This April, we marked the first anniversary of our collaboration with leading environmentalist Jake Fiennes on a biodiversity project to preserve a 7 hectare site next to our Holkham Head Office.

Named ‘Monica’s Meadow’, our five-year project employs science-based, traceable metrics that will have positive benefits, including improving air, water and soil quality, sequestering carbon and improving the biodiversity of the land.

We initiated this project because as a company we wanted to lead with action and demonstrate that you can make a difference right on your doorstep. We want the meadow to set an example to educate our customers, staff, other brands and our local community to start their own projects and regenerate local landscapes.

So far, we have completed initial land assessments, including soil and air quality, current biodiversity levels and species, created a pond to further increase biodiversity, and planted bespoke seed mix and we are excited to see the growth as this project evolves.

What is next on your agenda?

At Monica Vinader we are very proud of the various milestones we have achieved, however “we mustn’t get complacent. There’s more to be done and the road ahead is long but exciting.”

A few things we are currently working on and in the pipeline:

  1. Implement a decarbonisation strategy and net zero roadmap.
  2. Nominate employees to participate in Diversity in Retail’s leadership programmes to support career progression.
  3. Launch a human rights due diligence programme with an external expert across our internal business and across our supply chain.
  4. Continue to roll out our Product Passport traceability initiative, adding 50 new styles per year., targeting 75% of our collection to be fully traceable by 2025.     
  5. Lead change in the jewellery industry by delivering agenda-setting goals aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.