By Richard Peplow
Richard Peplow, vice presidentof CIBJO.
What is CIBJO, and what does the organisation do for me? These are among the questions that people usually ask when CIBJO is mentioned. CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, is active throughout the world and is the only organisation representing the entire global jewellery industry. So how is it that CIBJO is not known by more people? The answers may be complex, but the industry itself is the key.
CIBJO is financed by very modest subscriptions by members in 43 nations and from contributions by Associate Members. How can a global organisation exist and carry out its work if the industry does not provide its wholehearted support?
Would it not be possible for every single member of the jewellery industry from mine to retail to give just $1 to support this organisation? Thousands of outlets exist because they sell their products in order to make a livelihood and to make a profit. But if you ask them for a small contribution aimed at helping to run their industry in an ethical manner and to protect their interests, they ask why or simply ignore the request.
But at the first sign of trouble, the industry cries out for help. But where will the help come from? From a body that has no finance, only one office in Europe, and is run by a small number of unpaid volunteers who devote their lives to helping our industry overcome its difficulties. Can you imagine the World Bank conducting its affairs like this? Or a jewellery manufacturer with outlets on many continents?
The jewellery industry has to understand that such a vital organisation must be properly financed. The role of CIBJO is critical, it represents the entire jewellery industry at the United Nations and is a Special Status member of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In other words, CIBJOrepresents us all at the UN and discusses what the industry can do about the things that matter, not only to us personally, but for the survival of the entire jewellery industry worldwide.
The Global Compact and the Millennium Goalscontain objectives that are crucial to our very existence. It is no use hoping things will sort themselves out and somebody else will do the work.
This Compact and these goals guide us through our corporate and social responsibilities – without them we would not even have started to think about how we should be conducting our affairs.
Over the course of many years, CIBJO has achieved a great deal and produced guidelines for our industry with the publication of the Blue Books which are very widely recognised throughout the industry. Our organisation's achievements, over such a long period of time, are extremely commendable, all the more so given our dire lack of funds.
The jewellery industry could easily correct this by providing proper funding for the organisation that everyone turns to when protection is needed or answers to international problems are required.
The services that CIBJO provides are unique in what it offers to our industry, and provides a forum for important discussions in which anyone can participate.
The new Centre of Excellence opened in Antwerp last May is proof of our commitment to the vital role of corporate social responsibility, With the help of the United Nations, our World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation can provide us all with the right training to prove to the consumer that we are both responsible and ethical in all that we do.