From Prism Volume II 2023: Letter from the CEO John W. Ford Sr.

By John W. Ford, Sr., Chief Executive Officer

Dear AGTA members,

I hope everyone is well and that business is booming! AGTA has seen many accomplishments to date in 2023, and we have more on the horizon.

To date, AGTA has unveiled three major initiatives that demonstrate the association’s commitment to founding principles and members. The first was the formation of a committee to standardize terms surrounding sustainability and ethics. This group has been working for months to develop standardized verbiage that is practical and specific to our industry. Plus, the timing of its creation even coincided with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) call for comments surrounding updates to its Green Guides. AGTA is providing input to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and is sending its own comments directly to the FTC, which will develop appropriate revisions. AGTA’s input corresponds directly with terms being set forth by the new committee.

Opinion Letter, Volume II Prism 2023, John W. Ford Sr.

A second effort is a boon to AGTA members. At the end of January, Rio Grande and this association formed a strategic collaboration based on shared industry values and goals. AGTA’s member dealers are now providing ethically sourced gemstones to Rio Grande’s thousands of wholesale customers and the millions of consumers they serve. AGTA, meanwhile, will support the Rio Grande client base by promoting education, disclosures, and industry standards to help jewelers perfect their craft.

Finally, AGTA and the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) unveiled a strategic relationship featuring an unparalleled multiyear research project that examines colored gemstone supply chains in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. The goal is to identify best practices specific to the colored stone industry and improve transparency and traceability, ethics, environmental sustainability, and human rights within it. Both AGTA and Mines recognize that guidelines for the responsible sourcing of Diamonds and precious metals simply don’t fit the colored gemstone supply chain, and we share a common goal of improving the transparency and traceability within the international mining community. This is why we’re teaming up to identify and cement best practices at sites worldwide. AGTA started the ethics conversation when it was founded, and now we’re taking significant next steps to help it evolve in a clear and responsible manner.

There are still more initiatives—including consumer-facing ones—to come! AGTA has more exciting efforts planned that will directly benefit members, making AGTA membership even more important. Your business can’t benefit if you don’t belong.

Just as AGTA continues to structure alliances with like-minded entities, so, too, should you keep company with peers that strive for positive reputations and similar goals. AGTA membership provides that. Reach out to me with questions on how to join.

This is proprietary content for AGTA and may not be reproduced. 

This article first ran in Prism Volume II 2023. See the flipbook by clicking here.