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IEG, CIBJO Focus On Sustainability In Jewellery Industry

Environmental responsibility in the jewellery sector will be the focus of a seminar organised by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG) and the World Jewellery Confederation CIBJO, scheduled for January 22 at the VICENZAORO trade show.

The themes of social responsibility and sustainability is at the centre of VICENZAORO's focus, and is the driving force of a joint programme of CIBJO and the Italian Exhibition Group, endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to support CSR in the international jewellery sector.

Environmental sustainability, which refers to the ability of biological systems to remain diverse and productive over the course of time, is not generally associated with the world of jewellery, where many of the raw materials have been mined. Once removed from the earth, they do not grow back again. But sustainability in general is of critical importance, and in recent years has been approached from a social and economic perspective. This is because the valuable natural resources in jewellery can provide sustainable economic and social opportunities to people and communities in the often-impoverished areas of the world where they are located. "A diamond is forever" even after it is extracted!

But there are sectors of the jewellery industry, where both the product and the business can be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. These most often these involve organic materials living in a marine environment, where sustainability is made possible through aqua-farming, such as with cultured pearls, and to a lesser degree precious coral.

Unlike a mine, which has a finite life span, a pearl farm can continue producing indefinitely, on condition that it is responsibly operated. In other words, it is an asset that can be regenerated and sustained, and in turn act as a resource for sustainable economic and social opportunity. Precious coral, in contrast, is harvested from deep water natural reefs. Here, sustainability is maintained mainly by ensuring that production levels remain below the ability of the coral reefs to grow and regenerate on their own. However, research currently is being undertaken to investigate the means of actively restoring precious coral reefs in protected zones.

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