May 15, 2018
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has confirmed the Special Consultative Status held by CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, for the coming four years. The decision follows CIBJO’s successful submission and the acceptance of its Quadrennial Report, covering the period 2014 through 2017.
One of the six main organs of the United Nations, ECOSOC serves as the principal body in the international organisation for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the UN’s internationally agreed development goals. In so doing it engages a wide variety of stakeholders – policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, major groups, foundations, business sector representatives and registered non-governmental organizations, of which CIBJO is the sole representative from the jewellery and gemstone industries.
CIBJO became the first and only organisation in the diamond, gemstone and jewellery sectors ever to receive official consultative status within ECOSOC in 2006, and thus associated the industry with the mission to fulfil the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which in 2015 were replaced by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In December 2008, CIBJO established the World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), whose purpose it is to establish programmes that will educate members of the diamond, gemstone and jewellery industries about the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability. This was achieved with the support of the United Nations, which assigned a team of CSR experts to work on the project.
During the 12-year period following its recognition by the United Nations, CIBJO has run numerous programmes and projects around the world, dedicated to instilling the principle that, while jewellery is a non-essential luxury product, the greater jewellery industry is an essential business sector, with the potential of creating sustainable economic and social opportunities in many of the world’s underdeveloped regions. Among these have been the organisation of special workshops at the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva, and running a two-day workshop in the United Nations pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. More recently, in 2017, CIBJO joined the prime minister of Fiji promoting a sustainable pearl industry at the Ocean’s Day Summit in New York.
“Our objective has been to expand the popular narrative about our product and our business, both inside the jewellery and gemstone industry, and in the wider community, as to what our responsibilities and potentials are when it comes to CSR and sustainability,” said CIBJO Gaetano Cavalieri, who over the past 12 years has been invited to address the ECOSOC High Level Segment on three separate occasions. “For a long time we had focused almost entirely on the defensive measures that were needed to be taken to mitigate any negative impacts our activities may have. These remain essential, but in joining ECOSOC and committing to be part of the UN’s development programme, we argued that the jewellery industry strives to achieve more than simply not being as part of the problem, and that is also being part of the solution. It has been a long journey, but we can see that perceptions are changing.”
In 2006 CIBJO also became a member of the United Nations’ Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, which was launched in 1999 by the then-UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and commits its participants from the private sector to operate according to four fundamental pillars: respect of human rights, adherence to fair labour principles, environmental sustainability, and the battle against corruption. These are expressed in ten principles that participating companies and organisations must adopt and respect in their own approach to business.