CIBJO Con­gress In Bo­gota Fo­cuses On Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing & New Tech­nolo­gies

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The 2018 CIBJO Con­gress con­cluded in Bo­gotá, Colom­bia, on Oc­to­ber 17th af­ter three days of of­fi­cial busi­ness, which fol­lowed two days of steer­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings. The fi­nal day of the Con­gress was marked by a visit by Colom­bia’s Vice Pres­i­dent, Marta Lu­cia Ramirez.

Ad­dress­ing the spe­cial ses­sion of the Con­gress, which also was at­tended by about 200 mem­bers of the Cham­ber of Com­merce of Bo­gota’s Jewellery Clus­ter, Ramirez

out­lined chal­lenges fac­ing Colom­bia in gen­eral and the busi­ness com­mu­nity specif­i­cally. She pointed to the grow­ing im­por­tance and ex­pan­sion of the Colom­bian jewellery sec­tor, and paid trib­ute to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the emer­ald and jewellery in­dus­tries, who she said were lead­ing the sec­tor for­ward.

Dur­ing the con­clud­ing gen­eral assem­bly ses­sion on the fi­nal day, CIBJO pres­i­dent Gae­tano Cava­lieri de­scribed the Con­gress as most suc­cess­ful, not­ing that sig­nif­i­cant work had been ac­com­plished in driv­ing for­ward the busi­ness and so­cial agen­das of the jewellery and gem­stone in­dus­tries, and in par­tic­u­lar pre­par­ing them for the mar­ket­place of the years ahead.

“As in­dus­try lead­ers, our obli­ga­tion is to en­sure that our sec­tor is able to evolve and adapt in ac­cor­dance with chang­ing busi­ness, tech­no­log­i­cal, so­cial and geopo­lit­i­cal con­di­tions,” said Cava­lieri. “Stay­ing in one place ef­fec­tively means that you are mov­ing back­wards, and that is not ac­cept­able. What we have done in Bo­gota over the past few days is to ex­am­ine what is hap­pen­ing around us, and to dis­cuss and im­ple­ment strate­gies that will equip our in­dus­try for the fu­ture.”

A land­mark event took place on the first day of the Con­gress, when CIBJO’s Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing Guid­ance was un­veiled. It is in­tended that the doc­u­ment will achieve the sta­tus of a CIBJO Blue Book, com­ing to serve as a ref­er­ence for re­spon­si­ble sourc­ing prac­tices de­vel­oped and ap­plied by in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­mer­cial bod­ies world­wide, while tak­ing into ac­count the chal­lenges of the global jewellery sup­ply chains. Like the other Blue Books for di­a­monds, coloured gem­stones, pearls, pre­cious met­als, co­ral and gem­mo­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries, it will be a liv­ing doc­u­ment, which can be amended and added to as chang­ing con­di­tions re­quire. For that pur­pose, a Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing Com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished, with Philip Olden ap­pointed as its pres­i­dent.

Dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies were dis­cussed at length dur­ing the 2018 CIBJO Con­gress. Blockchain tech­nol­ogy was the fo­cus of a ded­i­cated ses­sion, in­ves­ti­gat­ing the sig­nif­i­cance and pos­si­ble im­pacts of the new tech­nol­ogy in gen­eral, and more specif­i­cally in terms of its ap­pli­ca­tions in the jewellery and gem­stone sec­tors. These in­clude se­curely and trans­par­ently track­ing the move­ment of mer­chan­dise, as it changes hands mul­ti­ple times dur­ing its jour­ney down the chain of dis­tri­bu­tion, and also the use of dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies, which can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce bank­ing costs and pro­vide fi­nanc­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­dus­try mem­bers.

Also com­ing un­der the spot­light was the use of so­cial me­dia as a means of mar­ket­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices in the jewellery in­dus­try. In an en­light­en­ing pre­sen­ta­tion dur­ing the meet­ing of CIBJO’s Pearl Com­mis­sion, Kevin Can­non, head of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing at the Cul­tured Pearl As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, showed how a sin­gle paid-for post­ing on Face­book was seen by 1.7 mil­lion peo­ple, and gen­er­ated 50,000 clicks, 3,000 shares and more than 800 com­ments.

En­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, par­tic­u­larly in the ma­rine ecosys­tem, re­ceived a great deal of at­ten­tion. CIBJO’s Co­ral Com­mis­sion, headed by Vin­cenzo Liverino, re­ported on its work in pro­mot­ing re­search into the re­pop­u­la­tion of co­ral reefs, which to­day are be­ing se­verely dam­aged by cli­mate warm­ing and ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion. While pre­cious corals, which are deep-wa­ter species, are not un­der the same de­gree of threat as the shal­low wa­ter co­ral reefs, the com­mis­sion hopes that the pro­file of pre­cious co­ral as a lux­ury item will raise pub­lic aware­ness about the plight of those species that are in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion.

Among the other sub­jects re­ceiv­ing close at­ten­tion was adop­tion by the jewellery in­dus­try of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment’s (OECD’s) Due Dili­gence Guid­ance for Re­spon­si­ble Sup­ply Chains of Min­er­als from Con­flict-Af­fected and High-Risk Ar­eas, which were pre­sented and ex­plained by Tyler Gil­lard, who heads the Re­spon­si­ble Min­eral Sup­ply Chain project at the OECD in Paris.

Also dis­cussed at length were the re­cently re­vised guides of the US Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion for di­a­monds, pre­cious met­als, coloured gem­stones and pearls; means of sep­a­rat­ing pro­fes­sional opin­ions from mea­sur­able facts on gem grad­ing re­ports; and sim­pli­fied ver­sions of the CIBJO Blue Books and other guide­lines for mem­bers of the jewellery re­tail trade.

The venue of the next CIBJO Con­gress will be the King­dom of Bahrain, and will be hosted by the Bahrain In­sti­tute for Pearls &Gem­stones DANAT in Novem­ber 2019.

The 2018 CIBJO Con­gress was hosted at the Grand Hy­att Bo­gota by Fedesmer­al­das, the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Emer­alds of Colom­bia, and CDTEC, Colom­bia’s lead­ing gem­mo­log­i­cal in­sti­tute.

CIBJO pres­i­dent Gae­tano Cava­lieri (far right) pre­sent­ing a gift to Colom­bian Vice Pres­i­dent Marta Lu­cia Ramirez (sec­ond from left). She is flanked by Pramod Agrawal (far left), chair­man of In­dia’s Gem & Jewellery Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil (GJEPC), and Ken­neth Scar­ratt, pres­i­dent of CIBJO’s pearl com­mis­sion.

The CIBJO Con­gress’ open­ing ses­sion in progress.

A model dis­play­ing Colom­bian emer­ald jewellery at a gala din­ner dur­ing the CIBJO Con­gress.

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