The 2017 CIBJO Congress

The Congress took place in Bangkok in the presence of the Prime Minister and the Thai Minister of Trade, from 5 to 7 November 2017. One of the major objectives was to unite companies in the stone and jewelery business around the world on social and environmental issues.

CIBJO hosted several sessions. One of them dedicated to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Mr Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO’s CEO called for the responsibility of each one of the actors in the stone supply chain.

In order to ensure a relationship of trust between professionals and consumers, CIBJO’s President echoed back to the importance of transparency on supply, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.

Moreover, the first axis of CSR is the supply chain’s integrity. It’s main principles are that legitimate trade must not include stones from conflict zones or countries that violate human rights, must prohibit money laundering, must not cause security breaches, must not not promote child labor and other work-related violations, and environmental mismanagement.

In addition, the second principle of CSR emphasizes social responsibility. The CIBJO urges companies to embody a social force and encourages them to make the most of social, economic and environmental opportunities. The organization promotes measures that ensure that the industry is actively moving towards the principles of CSR.

Finally, the CIBJO’s President insisted on companies having to set up more measures. The goal is to awaken awareness and act surely, activate responsible and sustainable approaches by setting achievable and reasonable goals, regardless of the size or turnover of companies.

Mr. Cavalieri would like to set up a protocol similar to that of the Kimberley Process for colored stones that would involve governments in addition to the industry. This would help verify the integrity of the distribution chain through collaboration between governments and the due diligence of companies of all sizes. 80% of colored gemstones come from an offer from thousands of small artisanal miners. These figures are very different from the diamond market, which on the contrary is managed by a handful of companies controlling 90% of the global supply.

However, the industry faces several challenges. It is essential for the CIBJO to bring together more actors around the issues of CSR in order to exchange the best practices. Innovation and technology can help strengthen that integrity with digital systems like Blockchain, for instance.