CIBJO's new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book was the centre-point of a well-attended seminar at the VICENZAORO January jewellery trade show in Vicenza, Italy, on January 19. The precious coral sector was used as a case study for sustainability.
The seminar comprised the opening session of the 21st Symposium of the Federation for European Education in Gemmology (FEEG), which was hosted by the Italian Gemmological Institute.
In his introduction, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, who moderated the opening seminar, said that consumer confidence, without which, "the entire premise on which our business is built would be meaningless," requires more than just the integrity of the product to be maintained.
"Today, and for about 20 years already, it has become increasingly apparent that the ways in which we, the members of the jewellery industry, behave and impact society and the environment are also fundamental components of consumer confidence. We do not operate in a moral vacuum, where the value of the products we handle are no way connected to the businesses we run,” Cavalieri observed.
He added, “That may have been the case in the distant past, but it is no longer true — certainly not in the age of the Internet and the social media, where a photograph, video or tweet can go viral in a matter of hours.”
CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission President Philip Olden provided an overview of the new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which was approved by the CIBJO Board of Directors earlier this month. Emphasising that the Responsible Sourcing Blue Book does not purport to be a code of practice for which compliance can be certified, and neither a chain of custody, he said that it is meant to serve as guidance and provide a framework within which all members of the industry can perform responsible-sourcing due diligence, irrespective of their size and type of business.
Francesca Marino, CIBJO's senior advisor on CSR, looked at how the implementation of social responsibility practices could change through the introduction of Blockchain technology. "Compared to previously used systems, Blockchain makes the process of ethically evaluating the behaviour of a company more objective, eliminating the arbitrariness that other methods sometimes involve," she stated.
The second part of the CIBJO seminar shone the spotlight on precious coral, which has been the subject of media attention in recent years, largely as a result of concern about the effects of global warming on ocean life.