CIBJO-IEG seminar at VICENZAORO January show looks at how SMEs face the challenge of responsible sourcing and sustainability

“Trust, but verify” is a rhyming Russian proverb (Доверя́й, но проверя́й) that entered the English lexicon in the 1980s, when it was popularised by American President Ronald Reagan in respect to nuclear disarmament. It is now becoming a fact of life for all players in the jewellery industry, where doing due diligence to ensure responsible sourcing practices, verifiable supply chain integrity and social and environmental sustainability is becoming a requirement of doing business.

But the cost of conducting due diligence and becoming involved in projects that promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be restrictive, especially for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is thus a cause of considerable anxiety in the jewellery sector, where most companies are of limited dimensions. This is especially so in Italy, where all but a handful of firms are SMEs, and most are family owned.

Members of the “Does Size Matter?” panel during the seminar at the VICENZAORO show in Vicenza, Italy, on January 17, 2020. They are (from left): Giorgio Bodei, Director of Pomellato; Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC); Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission, the seminar moderator; Moya McKeown, a Sustainability Advisor at Carbon Expert; and Vincenzo Liverino, President of CIBJO’s Coral Commission.

The pressure to do due diligence is being exerted at both ends of the value chain. At the upstream side, mining companies, and particularly those in the diamond industry, are demanding that their suppliers demonstrably show that they are acting responsibly. Downstream, major retailers are increasingly likely to demand that their suppliers demonstrate that they have conducting due diligence on their own supply chains.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri greeting the seminar participants.

Marco Carniello, Director of the VICENZAORO shows, delivering a welcome address.

How SMEs can successfully meet these challenges was the subject of a seminar held the first day of the VICENZAORO show in Vicenza, Italy, on January 17, 2020. Entitled “Does Size Matter?”, it was organized by CIBJO and hosted by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), which owns the VICENZAORO show. The event was the latest in an ongoing programme designed and operated by the two organisations in support of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability in the jewellery sector, which is endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The seminar, which was conducted simultaneously in English and Italian, was supported by leading Italian trade organisations, among them Federpreziosi and Club degli Orafi. Steven Tranquilli, Federpreziosi’s Director, and Gabriele Aprea, President of Club degli Orafi, both welcomed the participants, together with CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, and Marco Carniello, Director of the VICENZAORO shows.

Gabriele Aprea, President of Club degli Orafi, addressing the seminar.

Steven Tranquilli, Director of Federpreziosi, speaking to seminar participants.

Moderated by Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission, and featuring a panel of international speakers, the seminar outlined what is required today in the industry in terms of responsible sourcing, supply chain integrity and environmental sustainability. It also presented the experiences of Italian companies that successfully have incorporated principles of CSR and sustainability in their businesses.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide practical guidance. The speakers outlined what is a required in terms of responsible sourcing, supply chain integrity and sustainability, and then presented a range of alternative solutions.


Philip Olden, President, CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission, United Kingdom

Mr. Olden, who served as moderator of the seminar, outlined the principles for responsible sourcing in CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, emphasizing how they are designed to be adopted by all players in the industry, irrespective of size.

Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), United Kingdom

Ms. Van der Veken described the operation of the jewellery industry standards and certification organisation, whose Code of Practice now includes gold, silver, platinum group metals, diamonds and coloured gemstones. She noted that 146 of RJC’s more than 1,200 members are Italian, with many of them SMEs.

Moya McKeown, Sustainability Advisor, Carbon Expert, Spain

Ms. McKeown described CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, which is a designed to enable members of the industry estimate their carbon footprint and then neutralise it, as part of the worldwide effort to limit the pace of global warming and climate change.

Vincenzo Liverino, President, CIBJO Coral Commission, Italy

As CIBJO Coral Commission, Mr. Liverino has championed a programme aimed at conserving the deep-water precious coral reefs, as well the shallow-water common coral reefs that are today under threat from global warming. As an SME, he is an adopter of the CIBJO Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and provides his perspective on how the jewellery industry may play its part in facing the challenge of climate change.

Giorgio Bodei, Director, Pomellato, Italy

Mr Bodei describes the efforts of Pomellato, which is part of the Kering Group and is one of Italy’s leading jewelry manufacturers, to ensure that all its suppliers, many of which are smaller companies, follow responsible sourcing practices. He highlighted the firm’s  Nuvola Collection, which includes gold exclusively  sourced from artisanal miners, all of whom have been certified by the Fairmined organisation.  (Presentation in Italian)