Speaking in Paris today to a plenary session of the 13th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has delineated a comprehensive plan for promoting responsible sourcing practices throughout the jewellery, gemstone and precious metals sectors, which includes the release this past January of CIBJO’s new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, and an online platform that will provide a set of of dedicated due diligence tools free of charge to the industry.
The CIBJO President was speaking during a special session on the first day of the OECD forum at which select stakeholders provided details about current and updated projects. The session was moderated by Guus Houtluin, a senior advisor on trade issues at the European Action Service (EEAS).
In his presentation, the CIBJO president pointed to factors that molded CIBJO’s strategic approach. The greater jewellery industry is overwhelmingly comprised of SMEs, many of which are family-owned and run, he noted, pointing out that, while on the one hand that means that they are more likely to remain committed to the business over the long term, on the other hand many are limited in the amount of resources and personnel they can commit to detailed compliance systems.
“This paradox has become more apparent over the past decade and a half, as awareness of responsible practices has grown, both among our members and our consumers. As an organization, much of our attention has been concentrated on meeting the requirements of a socially aware business community, while trying to protect the fabric of our industry,” he stated.
A key step step in CIBJO’s programme was the release this January of its Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which provides a framework and guidance for ethically sourcing gems and precious metals responsibly in the jewellery sector. It references the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for minerals from high-risk areas, insists on compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the World Diamond Council System of Warranties, and it supports the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
“An operating principle was that it would be inclusive, meaning that there is an expectation that the standards, guidelines and systems that it describes can reasonably be applied by all members of the industry, irrespective of size or financial capacity,” the CIBJO President stated.
To support members of the jewellery industry in implementing the principles laid out in our responsible sourcing document, CIBJO is now in the process of setting up an online platform that will educate them about the due diligence steps that should be taken, and at the same time will provide a set of downloadable tools and templates, which they can adapt for their use.
A dedicated suite of due diligence tools will be available at no cost via the the new CIBJO online platform. Dr. Cavalieri explained, and helping CIBJO develop this service is the Coloured Gemstones Working Group, facilitated by the Dragonfly Initiative. The Dragonfly Initiative is an advisory firm that supports businesses in the precious metals, gemstones and raw materials sectors create interconnected systems of environmentally, economically and socially responsible companies.
“Our ultimate goal is to support the principles expounded by the OECD and to introduce them to thousands of companies in the jewellery supply chain, so creating environments in which those companies may responsibly trade and manage the minerals they use,” Dr. Cavalieri said.