CIBJO President Highlights Difficult Situation of SMEs in the Jewelry Industry in his Opening Speech

The 2015 CIBJO Congress opened on Monday, May 4, 2015 at the Sheraton da Bahia, in Salvador, the capital of the north-eastern Brazilian State of Bahia. The World Jewellery Confederation’s Annual Congress held for the first time in a Latin American Country, takes place from May 4-6, 2015, and gathers together the members of national jewelry and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies.

Gaetano Cavalieri delivering his opening speech at the congress
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri delivering his opening speech at the Congress

During this annual event, the organization’s Diamond, Colored Stones, Pearls, Precious Metals and Gemological Blue Books, which are the industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated based on the recommendations of the relevant commissions that have been appointed for this purpose. The 2015 annual congress will also see the introduction of a Coral Blue Book.

Addressing the Congress during the opening session, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri spoke of the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industry, and other issues of concern to the gem and jewelry industry such as, the reduced levels of financing available to the diamond industry, and a cap on production by major mining companies.

“We are testament to the fact that with knowledge, talent, hard work and perseverance, a community of smaller companies can create an industry that generates close to $170 billion per annum, and provides a living and a hope for a better future for its millions of members and stakeholders. From our experience, one of the things that SMEs do best is they generate more SMEs. The sons and daughters in family-owned companies frequently set up their own companies, where they can express themselves and provide independent livings for their individual families. It is inherently sustainable business enterprise.”

Continuing further the CIBJO President said, “It is that sort of grass-roots involvement that can turn lofty Millennium Development Goals into long-term sustainable goals. But, we cannot take the existence of our small and medium-sized enterprises for granted. In the developed markets and production centres, they are a sector coming under increasing pressure, where a range of factors that disadvantage them have combined, making it increasingly difficult to stay in business.”

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations delivering his keynote speech at the Congress
The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations delivering his keynote speech at the Congress

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in his keynote address said: “The jewelry industry has a major role to play in the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations. By fueling the creation of jobs, the jewelry industry can help to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. By providing education opportunities, the jewelry industry increases individual’s human potentials and provides the means for a productive life. By cutting down illegal traffic of precious stones, the industry supports fair trade and transparent financing. By developing strict standards for the extraction of precious stones and metals, the jewelry industry contributes to the protection of the environment.”

Continuing further Ambassador Nassir said, “I know how much the actions of CIBJO and the World Jewelry Confederation have been instrumental in fostering the goals of the United Nations. With the adoption of the Kimberly Process, an international control and certification system, CIBJO through the World Diamond Council was influencial in the creation of the coalition between government, industry and civil society to implement it. Together they supported the creation of a framework to stem the flow of diamonds that are traded illegally and that contribute to bloodshed, human rights abuse and civil wars.”

A special session focusing on issues related to Corporate Social Responsibility, was held during the afternoon of the first day of the 2015 CIBJO Congress, focused on issues related to CSR compliance and carbon neutrality in the jewellery industry. Professor Donald Feaver, of the Branded Trust foundation, which is developing an online CSR compliance system for the jewellery and gemstone industry together with CIBJO, spoke about the new agenda in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that is emerging.

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