CIBJO Congress Opens with Special Sessions on CSR and Supply Chain Integrity

CIBJO Congress 2017 Special CSR session12

The 2017 Congress of the World Jewellery Federation (CIBJO) opened in Bangkok on Sunday, November 5, with the first day being devoted to two Special Session on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Coloured Gemstone Supply Chain Inegrity, the latter organised in conjunction with RJC, as well as sessions of some of the Sectoral Commissions.

At the first session, CIBJO President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri said that the organisation’s emphasis on CSR rested on three principles – a defensive approach that supports measures to enhance the integrity of the gemstone and jewellery chain of supply; a social activism approach, promoting progressive measures that aid communities and the environment, especially in underdeveloped areas where raw materials are sourced and processing takes place; and, an inclusive approach so that no programmes designed to support CSR and sustainability in the jewellery and gemstone industry become an artificial barrier of entry into the business.

Dr. Cavalieri said that the coloured gemstone sector derives up to 80 percent of its raw supply from artisanal and small-scale miners and needs to “devise practical means of enabling artisanal miners in the coloured gemstone sector to legitimately access our chain of distribution”, so as to “meet our commitment to equal opportunity between and within nations”. He proposed working towards creating a Kimberly Process Certification Scheme-type structure for rough coloured gemstones, which will enable the industry to demonstrate the integrity of its chain of distribution through a combination of government monitoring, and self-administered due diligence.

He said, “If we as an industry take the lead, and work on an individual basis with governments that are eager to legitimize their artisanal coloured gemstone sectors, then we can grow organically the group of nations working within a KP-type structure. At the same time, we can provide a legal and non-discriminatory path to the market for artisanal coloured gemstone producers, who otherwise may find themselves locked out.”

In the same session, Erik Jens, CEO of ABN AMRO, said there was a need for combining different groups within the industry to work together to develop a system and tell the stories of the good being done directly to consumers. Innovative methods and use of digital technologies can sustain the integrity of the pipeline, he opined.

Sakhila Mirza, Executive Board Director and General Counsel of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), described her organisation’s work in ensuring CSR goals are met. Stating that the LBMA has developed a Global Precious Metals Code relating to market conduct and best practices, she encouraged other businesses too to adopt similar practices.

Anne-Marie Fleury, Standards and Impacts Director at the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), spoke about the importance of the industry being involved in the formulation of new regulations and legislation, while Corrado Facco, Managing Director of the Italian Exhibition Group, which partners with CIBJO in the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility, proposed a sustainability charter to be signed by the jewellery industry participants interested in meeting the challenges of the changing market.

Later in the day, CIBJO and the Responsible Jewellery Council jointly conducted a panel discussion on Coloured Stone Supply Chain Integrity with Anne-Marie Fleury moderating the proceedings. The panel comprising Sean Gilbertson, Jean Claude Michelou, the Communications Director of the ICA, Emmanuel Piat, the head of the renowned Parisian gemstone firm Maison Piat, Richard Hughes, an expert on sapphires and rubies, gemmologist Vincent Pardieu, and Eduardo Escobedo, head of the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP) a Swiss based non-profit, discussed the issue from various different perspectives. The general consensus was that developing methods and systems to preserve the integrity of the chain was essential; however, there were many practical issues that need to be addressed, while always keeping in mind the ground realities and the needs of the mining communities.

Pic Cap: The Special Session on CSR at the CIBJO Congress
Pic Courtesy CIBJO

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