Jewellery industry leaders urge freely available
data and education to deliver best ESG practices

W&JI 2030 Executive Director Iris Van der Veken speaking during the session on ESG in the jewellery industry. She is flanked (from left) by Edward Asscher, RJC Vice President; John Mulligan, CIBHO Sustainable Development Commission President; Feriel Zerouki, WDC President; Melanie Grant, RJC Executive Director; and Helen Mitchell and Jon Key, ESG consultants.

OCTOBER 3, 2023

Senior jewellery industry leaders, in a panel discussion conducted on the opening day of the 2023 CIBJO Congress in Jaipur, India, called for the delivery of more freely available data and better education by jewellery industry bodies to foster best practices.

In panel discussion focusing on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and responsible practices, speakers also urged industry players to engage in more and better story telling to communicate jewellery products better to consumers. The session was moderated by John Mulligan, President of the CIBJO Sustainable Development Commission, who also is the Climate Lead at the World Gold Council.

“Fundamental changes are needed through partnerships. We need more ambition, and we need systematic change,” said Iris Van Der Veken, Executive Director and Secretary General of the Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030.

Ms. Van Der Veken appealed for the creation of an integrated data system to capture the needs of the industry as it works to raise responsible standards across the board.

Melanie Grant, Executive General of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), said that, based on her experience as a journalist, freely available data about key trends in the global jewellery business was hard to find.

“The industry needs more access to data,” she said, adding that more effective story telling was an essential component for brands and suppliers to communicate their strengths to consumers.  

ESG consultants Jon Key and Helen Mitchell also spoke of the need for more insightful story-telling to increase the quality of communications about jewellery offered across the retail spectrum. 

Milan-based jewellery historian and author Alba Cappellieri, who heads the jewellery design  department at the Politecnico di Milano, said the jewellery industry needs to invest more in education to raise standards in the future.

“Please believe more in education and support more education in the jewellery industry,” she said, calling on CIBJO to establish an education forum.

Professor Cappallieri added that AI will transform the future of the jewellery industry in a multiplicity of ways, and can be used to help boost standards and responsible practices.

Feriel Zerouki, President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), spoke of the need to foster fairness among industry players in order to achieve ESG goals and sustainability.

“To be ethical we need to be equitable,” she said, referring to the path to sustainability from responsible practices to improving ethical standards. She made her point by a describing two people, one short and one tall, paying the same price for a concert ticket, even though the taller one is likely to see the performance, while the other’s view is impeded. “True equality exists only if opportunity if equitable,” she said. “In some cases, people deserve to be boosted.” 

“Responsible sourcing also means ‘do no harm,’”she added. “Ethical means be kind and good to your employees.” 

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