Latest News & Press

Sustainability at Sheffield Assay Office

Published: 16th February 2022

The Sheffield Assay Office has been established since 1773, and has stood the test of time thanks to its integrity, innovation and a sustainable business model.

We are now proud to be a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).  The RJC is a standards-setting organisation that has been established to advance responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices throughout the diamond and coloured gemstones, gold, silver and platinum group metals jewellery supply chain. The RJC has developed a benchmark standard for the jewellery supply chain and credible mechanisms for verifying responsible business practices through third party auditing.

As an RJC member we commit to operating our business in accordance with the RJC Code of Practices. We commit to integrating ethical, human rights, social and environmental considerations into our day-to-day operations, business planning activities and decision making processes. A key component of this commitment is to report our progress on the route to corporate sustainability.

Sustainability at Sheffield Assay Office


When it comes to sustainability, having a strong and loyal workforce is essential. A sustainable business needs a dedicated workforce that is invested in its long-term success. This can be demonstrated by the following factors;

  • The Sheffield Assay Office pays all its employees at a rate set above the national minimum or living wages.
  • 46 % of the Senior Management Team and Team Leaders are female.
  • Employee retention is at a high level – several employees have at least 25 years’ experience
  • Health & safety is a key priority – no reportable accidents in last 12 months.
  • Investing in staff training and development – many employees have completed training courses in order to develop their skills.

We place a significant emphasis on human rights as well. Our Human Rights Due Diligence assessment, which included general employment terms, child labour, forced labour, freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, business partners, security, and legal compliance, showed no cause for concern.


Environmental stewardship is another key element of our business’s sustainability.

  • Energy use is monitored and measures have been introduced to reduce our environmental impact. We have switched to an energy provider with a higher proportion of renewable energy sources. Low energy LED lighting is also being phased in to all areas of the company and is 95% complete.
  • Operational hours for energy intensive equipment (such as furnaces) have been reduced without affecting performance or turnaround times.
  • Water usage is monitored on a regular basis. 
  • Paper usage is being reduced wherever possible, by implementing electronic means of recording data and information.
  • The impact due to transportation of goods has been reduced significantly by limiting the number of deliveries around the country.


You can’t be a sustainable business if you don’t balance the books. Revenues, expenses, operating costs, employee wages, taxes, and community investments are reviewed continuously in order to maintain an efficient and viable business.    

Brexit uncertainty and the ongoing pandemic have had a dramatic effect on the retail and manufacturing sectors. We have scrutinised all areas of income and expenditure in order to keep our balance sheet healthy. The measures we put in place contributed to 2020-21 being our most successful for several years. As a result, we now have plans to invest in newer technology across the laboratory and hallmarking departments, to maintain our competitive edge.

Moving forward

A new set of metrics has been developed to support the implementation of the RJC’s Roadmap to 2030, and to assess progress towards achieving the long-term impacts. The metrics, which will be collected via audits and an annual data collection process, will provide a holistic view of our commitment to, and management of key ESG risks, and the resulting compliance and performance improvements. These new metrics will enable us to assess progress, promote behaviour change, report performance more comprehensively, and demonstrate meaningful and measurable progress to stakeholders.

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773, under an Act of Parliament and today the company assays and hallmarks the precious metals - silver, gold, platinum and palladium. Sheffield Assay Office is one of only four UK assay offices who all work to uphold the Hallmarking Act of 1973 and continue to ensure consumer protection for customers purchasing precious metals.

To find out more about the whole range of services offered by Sheffield Assay Office, such as our hallmarking and analytical services, please email us at or complete the contact form on our website at,

Sign up here to all the latest news from Sheffield Assay Office direct to your inbox

« Back to all news

Contact Us