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More CSR work needed, as well as getting the message to the public, says panel

ABOVE: The CSR panel discussion in session, moderated by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (far left).

OCTOBER 26, 2016

 

Corporate Social Responsibility was the focus of a panel discussion held on the first day of the CIBJO Congress, and the first issue to be discussed was the efficacy of the Kimberley Process (KP) in curbing conflict diamonds and whether it is still effective and how to improve it.

The session was moderated by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) President Stephane Fischler commented that it is ironic that when an organisation such as the KP is so successful in reducing conflict diamonds, people ask if it is still a success. He gave the example of the KP’s work in monitoring the situation in the Central African Republic and the work to return it to the KP. “There is no doubt that the KP’s narrow focus has proven to be effective,” he commented.

Gemfields President and CEO Ian Harebottle asked if some of the definitions used by international organizations are too wide and leave a vacuum that needs filling.

Meanwhile, Responsible Jewellery Council Executive Director Andrew Bone said the KP has done excellent work, but media talk about a whole range of other things it should do may have created the impression that it was not completely fulfilling its mission.

“The KP is not a one-stop shop to deal with all issues, so the industry went and developed the Diamond Development Initiative and the RJC. It recognized that the KP could not deal with everything. For what it is meant to do, the KP does an excellent job,” he stated.

“There have been enormous changes in the last decade or so and that has changed the culture for the good regarding Corporate Social Responsibility. These changes are now accepted. We must continue to cooperate to stay one step ahead of our detractors,” Bone added.

Meanwhile, Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform’s Executive Director Eduardo Escobedo commented that the number of changes that have been carried out in the last 20 years in sustainability efforts is extraordinary. “This is still evolving. Sustainability even five to six years ago was more about compliance and the minimum standards that firms needed to show in order to comply, but this issue is now being seen as an opportunity. There is a lot of information available about what’s happening in sustainability around the world and companies are reading about these initiatives and moving their own projects.”

Mr. Harebottle commented although the industry is working hard in creating sustainability efforts but they still need to do more. “Jewellery is still seen as luxury not a necessity and companies dealing in them are expected to do more. Corporations are seen as inherently corrupt by many people so we need to keep doing more to prove just how ethical we actually are. There is real willingness from the industry to embrace change and that is encouraging,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fischler said he was very concerned with the fragmented message the industry is sending out regarding its products and messages. “We need to decide whether its values or risk that bring us here to discuss CSR. The more we progress, the more we are challenged. We need to discuss values with our members. The industry spends a lot of time talking about CSR, but we don’t spend enough time talking about the wonder of our products to consumers.

“We need to bring the main industry organisations together to drive our strategy. We must obtain more data and analyse it. Our members must understand that CSR is an opportunity not a risk for their businesses,” Mr. Fischler stated.

The industry is reacting rather than managing the situation, Mr. Bone stated. “We are the victims of our own success. We deal in works of art and people love talking about diamonds and writing about diamonds especially famous ones. We must be more pro-active and convincing in telling the public about what we are doing.”

Also participating on the panel was Moya McKeown, a carbon foot-printing expert, who has been working with CIBJO as part of its Greenhouse Gas Measuring and Offsetting Initiative. She stressed the importance of proactive environmental responsibility, and the critical role it should play today in the industry CSR strategy.

More CSR work needed, as well as getting the message to the public, says panel2017-12-07T11:56:29+00:00

Responsible business practices must be at heart of industry’s operations say Opening Day speakers

ABOVE: Andrew Bone, CEO of the Responsible Jewelry Council, addressing the Opening Session of the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan, Armenia.

OCTOBER 26, 2016

The second part of the opening ceremony of the CIBJO 2016 Congress featured key jewellery industry figures, including Gemfields President and CEO, Ian Harebottle; ALROSA Vice-President Andrei Polyakov; Responsible Jewellery Council Executive Director Andy Bone; and Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform’s Executive Director Eduardo Escobedo.

Mr. Harebottle spoke about the work of Gemfields, particularly as it relates to ethics, sustainability and transparency. He said that the company’s focus is on growth and development of the sector, and that it prides itself on increasing the supply of coloured gemstones. The supply of sapphires, rubies, emeralds and amethyst has always been only a fraction of the supply to the market of diamonds. The firm is also actively involved in all stages of the coloured gemstone trade, from mining to sorting and distribution to retail.

Mr. Harebottle described ethics, sustainability and transparency as being “at the heart of our work”. He noted that the gemstone industry is not doing enough on these practices, however. “When you spend time in countries where we operate you see that the needs are massive and there is always more to be done,” he commented. “We recognise this and these areas are undoubtedly better for us being there, however, we recognize that we don’t do enough and want to do more.”

He said that although the firm spends about 1 percent of revenue on sustainability programs, this translates into about 20 percent of net income. It also had to be seen in terms of paying taxes, creating jobs, and doing marketing work and that it has a holistic approach to this activity. He commented that it was important for the industry to set high targets.

Key targets for Gemfields are healthcare, education, farming, the environment, its carbon footprint, and elephant and other conservation projects in countries where it operates.

“We work with our downstream participants to ensure they are working ethically – no child labour and that they are paying taxes and other commitments as responsible firms. Disclosure is also critical and we believe that it brings a return on investment,” Mr. Harebottle stated.

Andrei Polyakov, President of the World Diamond Council and Vice President of ALROSA, spoke of the work of CIBJO in bringing together jewellery associations from across the world for many decades. Most sales of jewellery are by small retailers and they are the least protected, he said.

Consumers are concerned with social justice, conflict free diamond jewellery, the origin of precious stones and metals, fair wages, environmental protection and other issues and want to see this reflected in the products, he explained.

“Jewellery retailers are the most important part of the pipeline because of their interface with consumers. That is why CIBJO is so imp for the jewellery industry. It unites the global business. Its work on the Blue Books is critical. Your work in responsible business practices is crucial,” Mr. Polyakov said.

Responsible Jewellery Council Executive Director Andy Bone praised CIBJO for choosing Armenia as the host of the 2016 Congress, saying “CIBJO always goes where the action is and not just to the usual places”.

He outlined the work of the RJC over its 10-year history, saying it had been created by the industry for the industry. “The RJC creates an opportunity for jewellery industry members to set their standards against an industry benchmark,” he stated.

He described the RJC as the only standards organization covering the entire chain from mines to retail and is seeing very large growth rates with the latest large member being ALROSA. There has also been a large rise in RJC certifications. “The benefit of RJC membership is the ‘community of confidence’ along the value chain that it has created,” Mr. Bone stated.

He added that the RJC has 856 members “and hopefully 1,000 by next year,” with members in 66 countries with 400,000 employees

The final speaker of the morning session was Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform’s Executive Director Eduardo Escobedo.

He explained that the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP), is a Swiss-based non-profit organization. It is a member-based multi-stakeholder platform composed of premium and luxury companies from the cosmetics, fashion, and jewellery industries, governments and inter-governmental agencies, research institutions, and civil society organisations.

Mr. Escobedo spoke of the need for responsible action in business, pointing out examples in the environmental field where members could take action. “We believe there is still a large gap between what is being done and what needs to be done to help the environment,” he said.

Responsible business practices must be at heart of industry’s operations say Opening Day speakers2017-12-07T11:56:29+00:00

In his opening address, Gaetano Cavalieri stresses CIBJO’s independence and commitment to all industry players

ABOVE: Gaetano Cavalieri addressing the opening session of the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan, Armenia.

OCTOBER 26, 2016

Addressing the opening session of the CIBJO Congress, which began today in Yerevan, Armenia, the organisation’s president, Gaetano Cavalieri, stressed the independence of the World Jewellery Confederation, and its commitment to serve the interests of all players in the greater gemstone and jewellery industries, regardless of size.

The following is the full text of his address:


On behalf of CIBJO, I would like to thank His Excellency, President Serzh Sargsyan, for the great honour that he has bestowed upon us. This is not something that we take for granted, and we consider it a sign of honour not only for our organisation and the jewellery industry, but also for our host, Gagik Gevorkyan, and the men and women of the Armenian Jewellers Association.

In CIBJO we pride ourselves on forging new paths for the international jewellery and gemstone industries, looking over the horizon to areas that may not have previously been part of the public discussion.

Last year we held our first congress in Brazil, and in so doing we highlighted the growing potential of the industry and markets of Latin America. This year, we gather for the first time in Central Asia, in the centre of a massive region and a growing jewellery industry and market.

I have been fortunate to have visited Yerevan several times, but I know that for many of you this is the first such opportunity. However, even though you are seeing this beautiful city and country for the first time, I am relatively sure that most of you already well familiar with legendary warmth and hospitality of the Armenian people.

As a Sicilian I am very familiar with the experience of discovering Sicily in almost every corner of the world to which I travel, and same is true for Armenians. Some 3 million Armenians live here Armenia, but a further 8 million live in other parts of the world, throughout the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Europe and the Americas. And it would seem, although I realise I may be exaggerating just a little bit, almost every single one of them is involved in the jewellery business.

For years already, almost every June, I have experienced a brief touch of Armenia on the terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, as the U.S. West Coast branch of AJA hosts our industry during the JCK Show. And what has impressed me every single time is not only the hospitality, but the firm commitment that they have to their community, their mother country, and to the jewellery business as well.

Two years ago, many of you joined us at the CIBJO Congress in Moscow, where our host was the Russian Jewellery Guild. Now, if any one feels that they may be experiencing some type of déjà vu, that would be because our host this week, Mr. Gagik Gvorkyan, was our host in Moscow in 2014.

As it has in so many other parts of the world, the contribution of the Armenians to the development of the modern Russian jewellery industry has been immense, and Gagik is the embodiment of that.

As President of the Armenian Jewellers Association, he and his colleagues from AJA from around the world are making sure that the jewellery industry and trade in Armenia become a powerful economic engine, driving trade between this country and the world, and serving as a self-sustaining catalyst for national economic growth and prosperity.

The very building that we are seated in today, the Meridian Expo Centre is an excellent example of what our industry represents. Thirty years ago this was a factory producing military equipment. Today it has been refitted as a convention and business centre, and free trade zone for jewellers from around the world. What better example could we have of the jewellery industry transforming instruments of war into implements of peace and cooperation.

I would like to express special thanks to CIBJO’s sponsors at this congress: Fiera di Vicenza, the Gemological Education Certification Institute, known as GECI, and Gemfields, whose President and CEO, Ian Harebottle, will address us later this morning.

Before I continue, I would like to pay CIBJO’s respects to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol the Great of the Kingdom of Thailand, who passed away 13 days ago after serving on the throne for 70 years and 126 days. To our many Thai members and friends, please accept our our condolences and sympathies during this sad period for your nation.

I will begin my address by defining what exactly it is that makes CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, such a singular organisation, and why it is that the role we play in the industry is a so important.

There are other representative bodies in our business, some of which are present here today, and many of which we cooperate with closely. They, too, play critical roles, but they are not quite the same, nor do they have all the responsibilities and commitments that CIBJO does.

CIBJO is the only organisation operating in the industry that considers its area of interest and responsibility to include the entire chain of distribution, from the mine to the consumer outlet, in every country and region where jewellery and gemstones are produced, manufactured and sold. There are no size restrictions in terms of the individuals or organisations we serve, meaning that our commitment to the wellbeing of the smaller player is as solid and absolute, as is our commitment to the larger players in the business.

We firmly believe that if you tender and nurture the grass roots of the industry, the business will be inherently healthier.

The only entry card into our industry should be a firm commitment to do business fairly and responsibly, always looking out for the interests of your employees, your stakeholders and your customers.

Our job in CIBJO is to develop the standards, terminology, strategies and systems that will enable all individuals and companies to operate fairly and responsibly. These change over time, are influenced by economics and geopolitics, and particularly by technological developments. That is why the work of our sectors and commission is never done.

Like all other representative organisations in our industry, CIBJO is dependent on the support and effort put in by its members. We appreciate that not all of them are able to contribute equally, and we are grateful that those who have more resources are often ready to take a greater share of the collective burden.

But at the same time we are fiercely independent, and we will never allow financial expediency to prevent us from making what we believe is the correct and fair decision.

The secret of our strength is vested in our membership. CIBJO primarily is a confederation of national associations, and each of those represents scores, and often hundreds and even thousands of individual jewellers and gemstone manufacturers traders, who depend upon their work to support themselves, their families and their communities.

For us, the jewellery business cannot be expressed only in a balance sheet. It cannot be summed up purely by numbers, by profits and expenses. We see the business as a community of individuals, interconnected with common principles and a common purpose. The success of one should never be predicated on the misfortune of another.

But we are a business community, meaning that we most definitely have a profit motive. But we believe that profits can be produced fairly, with mutual benefit. It is possible to strive for universal profitability as long as we produce a product that our consumer wants, and we are able to do it in a way that the consumer considers fair and ethical.

And, when I say, fair and ethical, I refer to the way in which we regard our consumers, as well as our employees, our suppliers and the communities in which they live.

I also refer to way in which we regard the members of our own industry, large and small. By definition, a business strategy is unethical if it directly or indirectly disadvantages other businesses, not for what they have done, but rather for what they are not able to do.

Although jewellery today is widely considered to be a luxury item, constructed from some of the most valuable metals and gems known to humankind, the jewellery craft is most definitely egalitarian, have been practiced at all levels of society throughout recorded history. For every one exclusive jewellery brand or boutique, there are literally thousands of smaller jewellers, for whom their products and their customers are just as important.

For CIBJO, each one of those jewellers deserves a place at the table, as long as they act ethically in good faith. We obviously recognise that most are not able to physically participate in the various industry and international forums, but through CIBJO, by virtue of their membership in national associations, we can and do make their voices heard.

Our commitment to serve the rank and file of the greater jewellery sector, and by extension all of our consumers and stakeholders, is what has driven our organisation.

  • It is what has pushed our commissions working on the Blue Book and industry guides, not only in terms of upgrading what already existed, but in adding new volumes, such as precious metals, gemmological laboratories and coral.
  • It supported our becoming a founding member of the World Diamond Council at the very start of the Kimberley Process.
  • It was what encouraged us to seek Special Consultative Status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC, providing for the first time a place in the United Nations for all members of the jewellery trade, regardless of their size and national identity.
  • It stood behind the creation of WJCEF, the World Jewellery Confederation Educational Foundation.
  • It was the basis of the discussions that we conducted with the European Commission regarding conflict minerals.
  • It has underscored our commitment to reduce and offset our industry’s carbon emissions, and to promote sustainable methods of pearl farming and coral harvesting.
  • It is what was has driven us to develop programmes and tools that enable all members of the industry to implement proper standards of Corporate Social Responsibility, including supply chain monitoring, in their own businesses.
  • And this, I would stress, is a very incomplete list.

We are honoured to have with us today the heads of various international industry and industry-related associations.

Among them is H.E. Mr. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, for whom this is not his first CIBJO Congress, but it is the first in his capacity as Chairman of the Kimberley Process, which as most of you know is the multi-national body that had managed the formulation and implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which is designed to prevent the infiltration of diamonds associated with conflict from entering the legitimate pipeline. It is a body in which decision-making capacity rests in the hands of government representatives, but where industry and civil society have observer status, and are well represented on its committees.

Mr. Chairman, CIBJO is proud to have been involved in the Kimberley Process from the very beginning, and to have experienced the very real change that the KPCS was able to bring about in the diamond trade. We are committed to your important work, and to strengthening the relationship between the Kimberley Process, CIBJO and the international jewellery community.

I am also honoured to welcome Andrey Polyakov, who just recently was elected to be the third president of the World Diamond Council. CIBJO was a founding member of the organisation, which as you know created history from 2000 onward when it actively lobbied and helped create regulation that would effectively combat the phenomenon of conflict diamonds. A number of people in the room were part of that effort. One who unfortunately was not able to join us today is Eli Izhakoff, who served as WDC president for its first 13 years, who is also CIBJO’s Honorary President.

I would also like to recognize Andy Bone, CEO of the Responsible Jewellery Council, who himself is a KP and WDC veteran, and who travelled to Yerevan especially to be with us. The relationship between CIBJO and RJC has been well documented over the years, and I would like to believe that we are now entering our Golden Age.

As Andy I am sure will discuss, when he addresses us later this morning, RJC has broken considerable ground in the jewellery sector though its method of certifying companies that meet its Code of Practices, which is involves a defined set of standards of responsible business practices for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals.

Later today we will announce the imminent launch of a online CSR Assurance System that CIBJO has been developing in conjunction with Branded Trust. In line with what I stated earlier in my address, our system is designed to enable all ethical gemstone and jewellery businesses to measure, monitor and demonstrate their implementation of responsible business practices.

But while our system looks to enable all participating companies meet international standards, we will not quantify nor certify those standards. That specialized work should be done by experts like RJC.

However, we are keen to cooperate and work together, so that all members of our industry are provided a fair and reasonable opportunity to seize the future.

Let me conclude on a celebratory note. As many of you know CIBJO is the oldest international association in the gemstone and jewellery industry. Our organisation was established in its original form in Europe in 1926, which means that this year is the 90th anniversary of our founding. It is a milestone in a journey that began a long time ago in Paris, but only one in a voyage that will continue for another 90 years and more into the future.

May we all have a successful congress.

In his opening address, Gaetano Cavalieri stresses CIBJO’s independence and commitment to all industry players2017-12-07T11:56:29+00:00

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan officially opens 2016 CIBJO Congress

ABOVE: President Serzh Sargsyan, the Armenian head of state, delivering his address during the opening of the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan.

OCTOBER 26, 2016

The CIBJO 2016 Congress has officially opened at the Meridian Expo Center in Yerevan, Armenia, in the presence of the country’s president, Serzh Sargsyan.

Speaking to the gathering, President Sargsyan said he attached great importance to hosting the CIBJO Congress in Armenia, which has a long and illustrious jewellery-making history. “Throughout the centuries, Armenian jewellers around the world have had a great input into the development of the global jewellery industry,” he stated.

“Today, our republic considers jewellery making and diamond polishing to be among its priority industries. It is for that reason that we do our best to assist and promote these industries however we can,” President Sargsyan continued.

“Armenia has celebrated a National Jewellers Day for many years, and, indeed, there is a jewelers’ street in Yerevan which leads to the Meridian Expo Center which is home to the most significant jewellery exhibition center in Armenia. I welcome you all and thank you for coming from across the world to take part and I wish you a successful Congress,” President Sargsyan added.

It is the first time that a CIBJO Congress has taken place in a Central Asian country, and it is being hosted by the Armenian Jewellers Association (AJA).

Gagik Gevorkyan, President of the AJA and Advisor to the President of Armenia, also welcomed Congress participants in Armenia. “We are delighted to host this Congress for the first time. Armenia is an important diamond polishing and jewellery making center and we believe it is right that the CIBJO Congress is happening here,” he said.

At the conclusion of his address the Armenian President awarded CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri with a special medal of gratitude in honour of his and CIBJO’s contribution to the jewellery industry in Armenia and worldwide., Dr. Cavalieri accepted the award, emphasising that he was doing so on behalf of CIBJO, its members and the work done by the confederation.

 

In his address, Dr. Cavalieri welcomed participants at the congress, saying the warmth of Armenian people for foreigners was legendary. “This year, we gather for the first time in Central Asia, in the centre of a massive region and a growing jewellery industry and market.” He commented that there are 3 million Armenians in their home country, but another eight million throughout the world “and many of them seem to be involved in the jewellery industry”, he joked. He said that Armenia’s contribution to the Russian jewellery industry has been immense and it has also aided Armenia’s economy.

The CIBJO President praised Mr. Gevorkyan, saying: “As President of the Armenian Jewellers Association, he and his colleagues from AJA from around the world are making sure that the jewellery industry and trade in Armenia become a powerful economic engine, driving trade between this country and the world, and serving as a self-sustaining catalyst for national economic growth and prosperity.”

Dr. Cavalieri went on to say that CIBJO prides itself on forging new paths for the international jewellery and gemstone industries, looking over the horizon to areas that may not have previously been part of the public discussion. “There other representative bodies in our business, some of which are present here today, and many of which we cooperate with closely. They, too, play critical roles, but they are not quite the same, nor do they have all the responsibilities and commitments that CIBJO does.”

“CIBJO is the only organisation operating in the industry that considers its area of interest and responsibility to include the entire chain of distribution, from the mine to the consumer outlet, in every country and region where jewellery and gemstones are produced, manufactured and sold. There are no size restrictions in terms of the individuals or organisations we serve, meaning that our commitment to the wellbeing of the smaller player is as solid and absolute, as is our commitment to the larger players in the business,” he continued.

“Our job in CIBJO is to develop the standards, terminology, strategies and systems that will enable all individuals and companies to operate fairly and responsibly. These change over time, are influenced by economics and geopolitics, and particularly by technological developments. That is why the work of our sectors and commission is never done. Like all other representative organisations in our industry, CIBJO is dependent on the support and effort put in by its members. We appreciate that not all of them are able to contribute equally, and we are grateful that those who have more resources are often ready to take a greater share of the collective burden.

“But at the same time we are fiercely independent, and we will never allow financial expediency to prevent us from making what we believe is the correct and fair decision,” he commented.

Ahmed Bin-Sulayem, Chair of the Kimberley Process (KP) and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, congratulated CIBJO on holding its Congress in Armenia and spoke of the strong relations between Armenia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Bin-Sulayem gave a review of the structure and work of the KP. He praised CIBJO in its continuous work to protect consumers which was similar to the work of the KP in protecting the integrity of diamonds.

Andrey Yurin, head of Russia’s state precious minerals repository, the Gokhran, said that Russia paid a great deal of attention to international standards that are recommended by CIBJO. These standards are being applied at Russian jewellery manufacturing plants, he commented.

“We thank Gaetano Cavalieri and CIBJO for the hard work they do for the international jewellery industry,” he said.

Andrey Zharkov, the President of Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA, said he was delighted that the CIBJO Congress was taking place in Yerevan. “I remember noticing the jewellery industry in Yerevan when I came here many years ago as a child. CIBJO has done great work in creating standards for the precious stones and metals industries. This allows for the production of high-quality goods. I must also praise CIBJO for its environmental work which is extremely important,” he said.

Mr. Zharkov told the Congress that ALROSA was heavily involved in the promotion of natural mined diamonds and in detecting synthetic diamonds, and expected its business partners to do likewise. He also spoke of the company’s work marketing diamond jewellery to younger buyers.

Also attending the opening session were Suren Karayan, Minister of Economic Development and Investment of the Republic of Armenia, and Adylbek A. Kasymaliev, Minister of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic.

 

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan officially opens 2016 CIBJO Congress2017-12-07T11:56:29+00:00

CIBJO Celebrates 90th Anniversary at 2016 Congress

OCTOBER 26, 2016

The 2016 CIBJO Congress provided the perfect opportunity for the World Jewellery Confederation to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its founding, confirming the organisation’s status as the longest established representative body serving the the international industry.

Speaking during the Opening Session of the congress that opened today in Yerevan, Armenia, CIBJO’s President, Gaetano Cavalieri, noted the special occasion. “It is a milestone in a journey that began a long time ago in Paris, but only one in a voyage that will continue for another 90 years and more into the future,” he stated.

CIBJO was originally founded in in the French capital in 1926 as BIBOA, an organisation whose mission was to represent and advance the interests of the jewellery trade in Europe. It was restructured in 1961 as CIBJO (Confédération International de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie des Diamants, Perles et Pierres), with a worldwide focus, rather than one which was exclusively European.

To this very day, CIBJO remains the only international body serving all sectors of the jewellery and gemstone sector, in all regions of the world and in all sectors along the chain of distribution. It also is the only industry organisation to be officially recognised by the United Nations, having achieved Special Consultative Status in the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2006.

CIBJO Celebrates 90th Anniversary at 2016 Congress2017-12-07T11:56:29+00:00

Africans should leverage natural resources into economic development, CIBJO President tells Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Harare

Noting the responsibility of the greater jewellery industry towards society, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has recognized the need of African diamond producing countries to leverage their natural resources into sustainable economic development for their countries’ citizens. He was speaking during the opening day of the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Harare.

“These are historic days for the diamond industry. Whereas once the compass always pointed north to London, today it points south. Quite possibly it always should have pointed in that southerly direction, but now there is no question,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

As Zimbabwe and the other African producing countries understand well, Dr. Cavalieri stated, it the business of diamonds that is able to translate demand for luxury products into economic opportunity in developing countries.

“While jewellery is a non-essential item, in certain parts of the world the jewellery industry is an essential business sector, providing a livelihood and looking after the wellbeing of literally millions of ordinary people. Our obligation is to ensure that our activities provide them with sustainable economic opportunities that will help secure the future of generations to come,” he stated.

The gemstone and jewellery industries have obligation to take care of all their dependents, reaching back to the very start of the chain of distribution, he said. “In the gemstone and mineral sectors, stakeholder sustainability means investing in the communities so that their natural resources will continue to pay dividends long after the resources themselves are depleted,” Dr. Cavalieri noted.

Paying tribute to Eli Izhakoff, the founding president of the World Diamond Council, who addressed the opening session of the conference, Dr. Cavalieri said: “There are those who like to describe members of the business community as being unconcerned about anything other than profit and loss. Eli showed that this is not an accurate perception. Yes, we are always interested in the bottom line, but we understand that to achieve sustainable success, it is necessary to provide benefit to all stakeholders.”

Photo Caption: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri addressing the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Harare.

Africans should leverage natural resources into economic development, CIBJO President tells Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Harare2016-03-18T12:40:58+00:00