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Standards and due diligence tools being developed to enable all industry participants source responsibly, CIBJO president says in India

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri addressing the 2019 Advances in Gem & Diamond Detection Technology (AGDDT) symposium in Mumbai, India, on August 7, 2019

AUGUST 12, 2019

All participants in the jewellery and gemstone value chain will need to come to terms with the fact that basic due diligence demonstrating that they are sourcing their supply responsibly is becoming is a regular requirement for doing business, said Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, speaking last week in Mumbai. At the same time, he added, the systems being developed must be inclusive, meaning that they cannot discriminate against ethical players because of their size or financial capacity.

The CIBJO President was speaking on August 7, during the opening day of the 2019 Advances in Gem & Diamond Detection Technology (AGDDT) symposium, organised by the Gemmological Institute of India. The event at the Bombay Exhibition Centre preceded the opening of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), in which Dr. Cavalieri participated the following day. He also joined an AGDDT panel discussion looking at measures that should be taken by the industry to successfully absorb laboratory-grown diamonds into the product mix, without compromising the position of naturally sourced diamonds.

In his presentation on August 7, Dr. Cavalieri focused specifically on the predicament faced by the coloured gemstone sector, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises at almost all stages of the chain of distribution. “In diamonds,” he stated, “close to 80 percent of the volume of rough goods are mined by only seven companies, and more than 90 percent in terms of value. In the coloured stone sector the situation is reversed. Artisanal and small-scale miners account for more than 80 percent of production, both in terms of volume and value.”

A basic premise of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which was approved by the CIBJO Board of Directors early in 2019, he said, was that it would be a “protocol that could be universally accepted by larger and smaller enterprises, which would meet the ethical standards that our industry expects from itself, and at the same time is acceptable from the perspective of the international community.”

“An operating principle of the Responsible Sourcing document was that it would be inclusive, meaning that there is an expectation that the standards, guidelines and systems that it describes can reasonably be applied by all members of the industry, irrespective of size or financial capacity,”he stressed.

In his presenation, Dr. Cavalieri outlined how CIBJO is developing tools and other materials, in cooperation with industry players, which are  designed to assist individuals, companies and organisations apply the principles contained in the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Book, with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

In April, during the OECD precious minerals forum in Paris, CIBJO signed an MOU with the Coloured Gemstone Working Group, which is a committee made up of representatives of Tiffany & Co., Swarovski, Richemont, Muzo Companies, LVMH, Kering, and Gemfields, facilitated by The Dragonfly Initiative. The goal is to produce an online suite of tools and resources that will be made available free of charge from an online platform, which essentially will enable companies to implement the principles outlined in the Responsible Sourcing Blue Book.

“We do not agree with those who contend that, only because of  company’s size, it should be given a free pass when it comes to responsible sourcing,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “Just as there are basic standards of practice when it comes to grading and disclosure, which all members of our industry are obliged to maintain, the same is true with responsible sourcing. Everyone can do something, to the best of their ability.”

“Let us be honest with ourselves,” he continued. “The demand that we document where goods come from and where they are going is not unreasonable. Your governments expect each and every one of you to maintain orderly books and follow basic accounting practices. In other words, you are already doing due diligence in your businesses.”

Standards and due diligence tools being developed to enable all industry participants source responsibly, CIBJO president says in India2019-08-12T10:30:25+00:00

CIBJO release 12-08-2019

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Standards and due diligence tools being developed to enable all industry participants source responsibly, CIBJO president says in India

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CIBJO release 12-08-20192019-08-12T10:24:32+00:00

CIBJO President advocates case for small business enterprises during UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (left) addressing the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York on July 17.

JULY 18, 2019

Speaking at a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which took place during the United Nation’s 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has advocated for the position of small and medium-sized enterprises. Sustainable economies rely on the contribution of SMEs, he said, but too often they find themselves operating at a severe disadvantage when compared to larger companies.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which currently is underway at UN headquarters in New York, is the international body’s main platform for monitoring follow-up on the actions of states and other actors towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Members of the panel during the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) session at the United Nations on July 17, 2019, listening to the intervention by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

One of the challenges we have faced in raising the positive developmental impact of SMEs in the jewellery and gemstone business is that, frequently, the due-diligence and financial requirements necessary to demonstrate that they comply with responsible business practices place them at a significant disadvantage,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “In the jewellery business this is particularly ironic because, although turnover is dominated by a relatively small number of large corporations and brands, employment and company ownership are overwhelmingly vested with SMEs, most of which are family owned.”

Echoing the 2019 HLPF’s theme of “Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” the CIBJO President stressed that ways must be found to raise the involvement of all players in the business sector in capacity-building and sustainable development.  Remaining inclusive, he said, means not disadvantaging SMEs.

Opening the HLPF session the day before, UN Secretary General António Guterres had said that the world’s people are demanding “transformative change that is fair and sustainable.”

“The evidence is clear,” the UN Secretary General stated, “development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive – and rising inequality hinders long-term growth.”

CIBJO was attending the HLPF in its capacity as the international jewellery sector’s representative in the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is the principal body for coordinating policy review, dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. CIBJO was awarded special consultative status in ECOSOC in 2006, and that same year joined the UN Global Compact, which the global network of sustainable companies and organisations that pledge to  align their strategies and operations with basic principle on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

CIBJO President advocates case for small business enterprises during UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development2019-07-18T03:57:13+00:00

CIBJO release 17-07-2019

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CIBJO President advocates case for small business enterprises during UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

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CIBJO release 17-07-20192019-07-18T03:43:53+00:00

CIBJO Ethics Commission President discusses sustainable jewellery options during small-island development dialogue at United Nations

ABOVE: CIBJO Ethics Commission President Tiffany Stevens addressing the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue at the United Nations in New York on July 10.

JULY 15, 2019

Properly managed pearl farms offer real opportunities to individuals and communities living on small islands in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, both from an economic perspective and in terms of protecting the marine environment, said Tiffany Stevens, President of CIBJO’s Ethics Commission during the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, which was held at the United Nations in New York on July 10. Indeed, she added, for a cultured pearl farm to become an economically sustainable asset, it is essential that it also be operated in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Ms. Stevens, who additionally is President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the New York-based organisation that provides legal advice, education and self-regulation services to jewellers and other members of the American jewellery industry, was speaking at the gathering on behalf of CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

CIBJO Ethics Commission President Tiffany Stevens at United Nations Headquarters in New York on July 10, 2019. The pearls she is wearing were provided courtesy of Original Eve Designs.

The 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, which took place at the United Nation in parallel with the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), focused on opportunities available to a group of 57 small-island developing states in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean, Mediterranean and South China Seas, examining how they may be advanced through multi-stakeholder partnerships. A “Tool Box” which includes a set of policy tools for designing, monitoring and reviewing SID partnerships was introduced at the event.

The 2019 HLPF theme is “Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

“Properly managed, a pearl farm can continue producing quality products indefinitely, serving as a resource for national development through the taxes and royalties it provides, and at the local level as a source of gainful employment and community development, both directly and through the secondary economies its nurtures,” Ms. Stevens stated.

What has been learned over the years, she added, is that when it comes to cultured pearls environmental, social and economic sustainability are inexorably linked.

“Over the course of its lifespan, the oysters of the most commonly used species are able to produce three cultured pearls,” she explained. “The quality of these pearls will be a direct result of the conditions of the water in which the oysters are kept, and the length of the gestation period, during which nacre forms around the irritant nucleus that has been placed in the animal. If the environment is pristine, and the pearl is provided adequate time to mature under water, the chances of obtaining a higher-value product will increase substantially.”

But, she noted, the cost of maintaining an optimal pearl-farming environment can be substantial, meaning that it is essential that the pearl farmers receive an adequate share of the revenues they produce, in order to encourage them to operate appropriately.

Ms. Stevens pointed to a project that Dr. Cavalieri was involved in several years ago, sponsored by the Government of French Polynesia, to reverse what had become a downward spiral in the average quality of pearls being produced by the country. What was discovered was that for farmers working under economic distress there was little incentive to invest in producing a better product. They attempted to generate more income by cutting corners in the management of the marine environment, and by reducing the gestation period of the pearls. This meant a continuing reduction in the quality of the product and the environment.

The lessons learned from the Polynesian experience were applied when CIBJO was invited to consult with the Government of Fiji and the country’s Fiji Pearl Farmers’ Association in the creation of a national plan to increase the size of the island’s pearl sector, while optimising the benefits provided to the country and its people. “The plan that was drawn up called for a community-based, pearl farming industry to enhance the effectiveness of locally-managed marine areas, integrate coastal management and land and sea management programmes, while also creating meaningful employment and income-generating opportunities for indigenous communities,” Ms. Steven said.

Speaking to the gathering, the Ambassador of Fiji also referred to CIBJO’s support of sustainable pearl farming, insisting that all partnerships matter and no small-island developing states should be left behind.

To download a copy of Ms. Steven’s full speech to the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO Ethics Commission President discusses sustainable jewellery options during small-island development dialogue at United Nations2019-07-18T03:58:03+00:00

CIBJO release 15-07-2019

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CIBJO Ethics Commission President discusses sustainable jewellery options during small-island development dialogue at United Nations

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CIBJO release 15-07-20192019-07-18T03:48:16+00:00