By Jonathan Kendall, President, CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission, and Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President
It is now six months since many of us met at the CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, and we have continued to build our climate change initiative, which is progressing as planned. We currently have more than 20 jewellery industry organisations and businesses working with us, and we ask that many more of you join us in the weeks ahead.
With the Inter-governmental Paris Conference on climate change less than three months away, over the past few weeks there has been a surge of media reporting around various environmental issues. Consequently, it feels like the right time to highlight a few of the highest profile statements that have been made, and to clarify and emphasise that our CIBJO initiative is positioning our industry in the right way (and at the right time) for possibly the most significant challenge that we will face in the future.
Two weeks ago Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, warned of the huge losses faced by any investor blindsided by climate change. In a speech to the insurance industry he warned that any insurers who ignore the dangers posed by climate change would not be doing their job, and any central bankers unconcerned by the ramifications would be neglecting theirs. Carney’s statements highlighted and reinforced to all those in the finance industry the understanding that they can no longer ignore climate change, and it is time for action.
Then just several days later, Pope Francis pleaded with nations to act “now” on climate change before it becomes too late. In a speech to the UN General Assembly he stated that “any harm done to the environment is harm done to humanity.” He went on to state that he is confident that the Paris conference will secure fundamental and effective agreements.
This year has been the first time that the Pope has supported the climate change agenda in such a clear and open way. He was followed by U.S. President Obama, French President Hollande and Chinese President Xi, all of whom made specific references for the need for action on climate change .
But it is not only governmental and religious leaders who have confirmed their belief in the need for real action. The business community is also advancing rapidly.
The trend in companies advertising their environmental credentials continues. For example, Unilever states in a recent TV ad its intention to focus actively on reducing the corporation’s environmental impact. Consumers are being bombarded with such messages each and every day, and it will not be long before it is the norm for customers to ask about a company’s environmental credentials before purchasing goods and services.
Jonathan Kendall (left), President of CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission, Gaetano Cavalieri (centre), President of CIBJO, and Moya McKeown, CIBJO in-house carbon consultant, displaying the certificates awarded to CIBJO for achieving carbon neutrality in 2013 and 2014. They were attending the 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador Brazil, which also was the first ever major jewellery industry event to be planned as carbon neutral. CIBJO’s programme is intended to serve as model for the international jewellery industry in general.
CIBJO set up the Jewellery Industry Measurement Initiative to help companies within the jewellery industry understand their environmental impact, reduce it, and protect themselves and the industry as a whole. It is vitally important that the industry in general become engaged with this challenge before it impacts negatively on mid-term to long-term demand.
We are acting on a voluntary basis, showing innovation and leadership, to keep ahead of future governmental and consumer demands.
For CIBJO as an organisation, our understanding and commitment to climate change was demonstrated recently with the declaration of Carbon Neutrality for the 2015 congress in Brazil. Indeed, the Sustainable Event Alliance, an ombudsman charged with keeping the industry honest, congratulated CIBJO on a rigorous greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. We are doing the right things, and we now need more in the industry to follow.
There has been a good level of engagement since Brazil, but we request that all members of associations affiliated to CIBJO join us in this initiative, so we can achieve broader industry involvement. If we start now we can set our own pace before legislation demands action from us. For further information or to discuss how this initiative can benefit your business or your members businesses, please contact our CIBJO specialist Moya McKeown, at email@example.com.
Thank you to all those already on board, and to those who join in the coming weeks and months.