Gaetano Cavalieri, President of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), spoke to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) High-Level Segment in New York about the jewellery industry’s potential as a force for positive societal development, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.
UN Secretary General António Guterres was among the leaders present at the gathering.
The CIBJO President was among a select group of NGO leaders invited to give a verbal statement before the ECOSOC High-Level Segment, which opened its 36th session on July 10, 2023 and will end on July 19, 2023. The session’s subject is Accelerating recovery from coronavirus illness (Covid-19) and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.
“In the difficult economic environment that has developed in the aftermath of Covid-19, membership in the World Jewellery Confederation plays both a critical and challenging strategic role,” Dr. Cavalieri remarked. While the majority of the end-consumers for the luxury goods they produce live in high-income countries, where the pandemic’s ravages have largely subsided, a large proportion of the raw materials they require are sourced in lower-income countries, where the social and economic aftershocks of the coronavirus period are still being felt, putting sustainable development programmes in jeopardy.”
“The presence of CIBJO members in these low-income countries, the majority of which are ranked in the lowest tier of the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI 0.55), provides them with an in-depth understanding of conditions on the ground, as well as ample alternatives to support grass-roots economic programmes that encourage sustainable opportunity,” he added.
“This is not only a moral imperative, but also a business requirement, because the now-dominant Millennial and Gen Z consumers of high-end jewellery products are more likely to demand that the products they buy provide demonstrable social and economic benefit throughout the entire supply chain.”
The CIBJO President noted that among the most vulnerable sectors in the jewellery pipeline are those involved in artisanal mining, or sometimes what is referred to as the informal mining sector. “The percentage of artisanal mining input varies according to product type, accounting for about 20% of both the global gold and diamond supply, but 80% of the supply of coloured gemstones,” he stated.