CIBJO Congress 2019 opens in Bahrain
with focus on climate change and environmental sustainability

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (third from right), with the guests of honour during the opening ceremony of the CIBJO Congress 2019, from right: HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister; and Chairman of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund which owns the congress host, DANAT; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs; HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

The 2019 CIBJO Congress has opened in Bahrain, with a call on the jewellery industry by CIBJO President Gaetano to take action on climate change, which he said was not an issue specific to the sector, but it is the “most important story of our time.”

“There is a tendency, when faced by a challenge of this magnitude, to feel that we as individuals are helpless,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “But if each of us does nothing, the march towards inevitable environmental catastrophe will continue. However, if each of us acts, and then that is multiplied over and over and over, company by company, industry by industry, it may be possible to stave off disaster. It is the least we can do.”

The CIBJO’ Congress opening ceremony took place in the presence of HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister who also serves as Chairman of Mumtalakat, the country’ sovereign wealth fund, under which operates DANAT, Bahrain Institute for Pearls & Gemstones, the host of the congress; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, a Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs of Bahrain; and HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

Lise Kingo, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, which is represented for the first time at a CIBJO Congress, addressed the gathering in a video message. In terms of global warming, she said, the world is at a pivotal moment.

“The good news is that we have the innovation, the tools and the expertise to turn the situation around, and transform the crisis into an opportunity,” Ms. Kingo stated.

“What we need now is leadership. That is why we at the UN Global Compact are asking business leaders to step up and commit to setting science-based targets, which are aligned with mitigating the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.”

Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, address the opening session of the 2019 CIBJO Congress by video.

In term of action, the CIBJO President urged companies active in the jewellery industry to sign into CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative. It is designed to help companies within the jewellery and gemstone industries understand their environmental impact, reduce it, and protect themselves and the sector as a whole, as well as our planet.

“As an organisation, CIBJO first measured and offset its carbon emissions in 2013, and committed to continue with this policy, serving as a role model for the industry, with the intention of encouraging members to follow its lead. The 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, was the first jewellery industry event ever to be fully carbon neutral, and every congress since then, including this one in Bahrain, has and will be carbon neutral,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

In his address, Dr. Cavalieri pointed out other key subjects that will be addressed during the three-day congress in Bahrain. One is helping create an international standard for Fei Cui, which is the Chinese term for a range of jade compositions, of which the best known is jadeite. With a market size that is comfortably in excess of $8 billion per annum, “it is fair to say that, after diamonds, Fei Cui products make up the most valuable sector in our worldwide industry,” the CIBJO President stated.

The Chinese and Hong Kong industries are interested in advancing international standards for Fei Cui in cooperation with CIBJO, and in a special session at the congress in Bahrain on Tuesday, November 19, a delegation will present its case.

Delegates and guests of honour during the opening session of 2019 CIBJO Congress in Bahrain.

During a later session at the 2019 congress on November 18, the Laboratory Grown Diamond-Working Group will present a proposed guidance document, design to create responsible trading standards for the new product category, which will simultaneously protect consumer confidence both in laboratory-grown and natural diamonds.

“The only ground rules that were provided to the working group was that it members needed be committed to defending the interests of consumers by being absolutely transparent about the identity of the products being sold, and there should be general agreement that neither the natural diamond or laboratory-grown diamond sectors should advance their respective interests by disparaging those of the other,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

The 2019 CIBJO Congress is taking place in Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, November 18-20. Serving as the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, the CIBJO Congress gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals, Gemmological and responsible Sourcing Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading and business standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

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