Item Inclusion Policy
Updated: 16 Dec 2020
ITEM INCLUSION POLICY
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONSIGNMENTS TO RUM AUCTIONEER
Rum Auctioneer reserve the right to refuse:
- Items known to be or believed to have been produced using either the exploitation of slave labour or from the profits derived from it.
- Labels that use racially, culturally, or historically insensitive language.
- Labels that depict or appear to depict slavery or themes relating to it.
- Labels that feature cartoon or caricature imagery of people or cultures, historically known to serve the purpose of alienating, marginalising, or degrading their subject.
In addition, there are instances where items may not be as obviously presented as described above, however upon further analysis, may still not reach the standards for inclusion by meeting the criteria as listed. In this case, until those items are confirmed to contravene standards as to inclusion and are potentially refused, we reserve the right to not actively promote items for marketing or other promotional purposes.
In certain circumstances, items that do not meet standards for inclusion may be considered for auction, but only with the caveat that auctioning the item will:
- assist in proactively raising awareness of an issue(s), and
- not result in any party involved, including ourselves, profiting from the sale, unless that party is a designated, recognised and registered charity linked in some way to support those affected by the issue(s) raised by the item.
The interpretation and implementation of this policy is entirely at our discretion. This policy will be reviewed and updated regularly, so please ensure that you return to this page to find out the latest version.
STATEMENT: RUM HISTORY, ETHICS, MORALS AND BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITY
Rum is incredibly exciting and a fascinating and complex spirit that is understandably gaining recognition as being highly collectible, investable and drinkable.
But complex it is. And as an auction house we, on a daily basis, are presented with rums that span and represent a huge swathe of history. As we build the content surrounding these rums for our site, this brings us face to face with the reality of rum and its history – this is often not a comfortable place, but it is a place we must enter and bring our customers with us, as it is important.
It is a plain fact that we do not know everything about the history of all rum; however, we have enough expertise, matched with a desire to enshrine our ethics and morals into the business, to know that we want to make sure we are doing what we can to present rum in an accurate light.
What does this mean?
It means that we commit to rejecting lots that do not meet our standards. We commit to building our knowledge-base and seeking out expertise, evidence and partnerships to do so. We will build this to assist in presenting rum in an accurate and informative light.
What does this policy mean in action?
As of now, we approach rum consigned to us in one of three ways.
First, it could be rejected immediately. Items that have been produced using the exploitation of slave labour or from the profits derived from it, labels that use insensitive language (racial, cultural or historical), depict slavery or themes relating to it, feature cartoons or stereotyped caricatures of people or cultures…all reasons we would reject a bottle immediately.
Second, it could fall into a grey area. These rums may not have an obvious history behind them, and perhaps long or tenuous links to clear exploitation, degradation or insult. They may have label imagery that does not immediately or obviously present as offensive in nature. This, as the description as a ‘grey area’ suggests, is one that we are committing to developing. The more knowledge we gain, the more we will be able to define and present lots accurately – or reject them completely. As a default first part of the process, anything that falls within this grey area would not be promoted outright by us. However, following on from this, we will undertake research to understand the bottle further to better understand and present its context.
Third, it could be fine to include. Rum consigned to us with no troubling label, depiction, names or associations, that is produced by a workforce that is well-looked after and not exploited does not normally require context beyond the rum and brand itself.
That said, some rum which we think may fall into this final area may actually be problematic (and the same for others in other categories, that are upon further research, ultimately proven to be acceptable). Therefore, these categories will be continually evolving – knowledge, evidence and information informing us at all times.
In addition, some rums that do not meet our standards for inclusion may actually present an opportunity to positively or helpfully raise awareness of an issue. We would treat these carefully, and should we progress with including a rum such as this, it is crucial that no party involved, including ourselves, would profit from the sale, unless that party is a designated, recognised and registered charity linked in some way to support those affected by the issues raised by the item.
Our policy and approach will continually evolve as well. We issue a call for evidence and welcome feedback from customers or others who have knowledge and facts to support us in gathering all we can about rums that may feature on our site.
As noted, this policy and the actions set out to take this forward and enact its elements are an ongoing process. With education, evidence and knowledge comes new viewpoints and ways of doing things.
The initial steps we will take are as follows:
- Set out Statement publicly, alongside our Policy
- Ensure staff are aware of and trained accordingly to enact this Policy and resourced to ensure application and continual evolution of the policy based on knowledge, evidence and expert advice
- Set up a ‘Call for Evidence’ feedback mechanism for those who have knowledge and facts surrounding items; this will help establish greater understanding and clarity surrounding items in relation to our Policy
- Seek out members to join an Advisory Panel we are working to set up to help provide a range of voices to support in expanding knowledge and provide different viewpoints beyond our auction expertise