CSR and sustainability under the spotlight at first WJCEF Executive Course in Antwerp

23.06.2010: The World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF) inaugurated its first ever Executive Course in Corporate Social Responsibility in Antwerp on Sunday, June 20, emphasising the connection between CSR and the promotion of sustainable economic,

The World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF) inaugurated its first ever Executive Course in Corporate Social Responsibility in Antwerp on Sunday, June 20, emphasising the connection between CSR and the promotion of sustainable economic, social and environmental activity in countries in which the jewellery industry is active.

"The jewellery industry has come a long way since the year 2000, and the understanding that we cannot allow our business to cause injury to innocent people is well and truly imbedded in our consciousness. But the demand that we do no harm is only side of the CSR coin. Our goal here is to consider the other side of that coin, and that is how the jewellery business acts proactively to bring about sustainable economic and social development in the countries in which we operate," said Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO and WJCEF.

The general focus of the Executive Course was set on the first day of the proceedings, with the team of lecturers directing participants to the United Nation's eight Millennium Developments Goals, which are meant to provide solutions to the most acute challenges to human society. Outlining the mission were Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, president of UN-ONG-IRENE; Dr. Francois Loriot, vice president of AIFOMD; and Dr. William Gunn, president of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine.

Attending the course is Jocelyn Fenard, chief of Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). "This first training session organised through WJCEF by CIBJO, an NGO accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, conducted by renown experts and trainers, is an important milestone for advancing corporate social responsibility in the diamond and jewellery industry, as a way towards supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and promoting Global Compact principles. The level of interactivity and engagement shown by the participants, all worldwide executive managers, is really impressive. It furthermore demonstrates their commitment as well as the need for further training," he said.

During the second and third days of the course, the participants, who come from the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, India, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Canada and Madagascar, will study the application of CSR principles to small and medium-sized companies, together with CSR consultants Michael and Ivor Hopkins of MHC International, and will receive a special overview of Corporate Social Responsibility presented by Dr. M.J. (Mimi) Marroco and Ron Knowles, experts from the CSR Certificate programme at the University of St. Michaels's College in the University of Toronto.

"What we examining here in Antwerp is the challenge to find feasible applications for CSR and sustainability in the jewellery and gemstone sector," said Charles Abouchar, president of the Stone Dealers Association of Switzerland, a participant in the course.  "We have committed ourselves to these principles, but we are looking for practical tools that we can apply in our own businesses."

"We have been hearing members of the United Nations talking about global social and environmental issues that affect the lives of millions of people across the developing world in Africa and elsewhere," said, course participant Moshe Mosbacher, president of the Diamond Club of New York. "The fact that we are here indicates our belief that is much to learn. However, in my opinion the diamond and jewellery industries have been further ahead of the game than almost any other business sector regarding CSR. We have been less successful in letting the world know what we are doing and how far we have come. "

"CIBJO, along with other bodies like World Federation of Diamond Bourses, find themselves in the unique position of leading our community to achieving full compliance with CSR standards and promoting sustainability. This will benefit our industry, but we also would like to serve as an example to others. The gemstone and jewellery sector should act as a guiding light in the areas of CSR," Mosbacher stated.

WJCEF was established by CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, in December 2008 with the purpose of instilling the principle of Corporate Social Responsibility in the international jewellery industry and trade. The course is being hosted in Belgium by HRD Antwerp.

CIBJO is the international jewellery confederation of national trade organizations. CIBJO's purpose is to encourage harmonization, promote international cooperation in the jewellery industry and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide. CIBJO's chief mission is to protect consumer confidence in the industry.


-  Ya'akov Almor-

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23.06.2010 / MaP

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