Thai jewellery industry urged to focus on sustainable manufacturing

The Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand (GIT) urged Thai jewellery producers to bolster their focus on sustainable manufacturing. The call to action comes amid growing customer interest in the ethical and environmental considerations of the industry.

GIT, an agency of the Commerce Ministry, emphasised that while the industry primarily centres around design and the ability to refine uncut jewels, the concept of sustainability should not be overlooked.

Sumeth Prasongphongchai, director of GIT, warned that failing to align with the growing sustainability trend presents a significant risk for entrepreneurs. He advised that their manufacturing processes ought to meet the standards prescribed by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). The RJC is the worldwide membership and standards organisation for responsible jewellery across the complete supply chain, from mining to retail.

This means that Thai jewellery companies need to exercise greater responsibility in their operations and pay keener attention to ethical and environmental matters. Thai entrepreneurs need to accelerate their sustainability efforts, stressed Sumeth. He went on to note that only a small number of Thai companies have been granted RJC certification.

Deputy Commerce Minister, Napintorn Srisunpang, echoed these sentiments, stating that the government recognises the need to advocate for business sustainability. He urged entrepreneurs to be more transparent about their raw material procurement and jewellery production processes. The deputy minister also advised manufacturers to design unisex products suitable for various contexts.

He predicted the boho-chic style as the likely ornament fashion trend for 2024, characterised by creativity, flexibility, and colourfulness. He also noted a current customer preference for silver, pearls, and ornaments crafted from natural materials.

The director of GIT anticipates little variation in jewellery exports from the previous year, with the sector’s performance being driven by gold and gemstone sales. From January to November of the prior year, Thai jewellery products garnered a value of US$8.25 billion, marking a 9.81% year-on-year increase from 2022, as reported by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office. Hong Kong emerged as the largest export market, followed by the US and India.

Sumeth urged exporters to explore new markets, particularly in the Middle East, to expand their customer base. As per official reports, Thais hold ownership of 47.1% of companies operating within the country’s jewellery industry, reported Bangkok Post.

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