CIBJO Congress Focuses on Youth Market, Corporate Responsibility

July 27, 2006

CIBJO Congress Focuses on Youth Market, Corporate Responsibility

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, closes its 2006 congress today after three days of focusing on a number of topics critical to the future of the industry, including the importance of the youth market and corporate social responsibility among industry members.

CIBJO members convened in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 24-27, for four days of panel discussions, breakout sessions and commission meetings.

In his opening speech to the congress, CIBJO President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri called on the jewelry community to aim to educate younger consumers about the importance of fine jewelry. "The future growth of our market depends upon the instilling of a fine jewelry culture in the consuming public," Cavalieri said. "We cannot assume it will always be there, and especially not in markets where consumerism is a relatively new phenomenon. Young people today are seduced by a great number of different industries to spend their non-essential dollars. Travel, electronics and entertainment appear to attract them more than a well-designed and valuable item of jewelry."

Cavalieri suggested that jewelers remain focused on getting young consumers hooked on jewelry at a young age. "We know that the jewellery buying experience is habit-forming," he said. "But if consumers don't get their first taste early on, they are less likely to become big jewelry spenders in later years, when they are more established and more affluent."

Many panel discussions were centered around corporate social responsibility and consumer confidence. Speakers also made frequent references to the upcoming Hollywood movie The Blood Diamond. World Diamond Council Chairman Eli Izhakoff and Louise Prior, a communications manager at the Diamond Trading Company, outlined the campaign that has been devised to provide information to the industry and jewelry buying public about the diamond industry's efforts to eradicate the conflict diamond trade.

Guest speaker Hanifa Mezoui, a senior official at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, also announced during the congress that CIBJO has become the only organization in the jewelry sector ever to receive official consultative status with the ECOSOC. This status, which is based on Article 71 of the UN Charter, will enable CIBJO to make a contribution to the programs and goals of the United Nations by serving as a technical expert, adviser and consultant to governments and the UN Secretariat.

"ECOSOC for its part, has become increasingly multifaceted, consisting not just of NGOs with public service, nonprofit objectives, but also those that have a blend of objectives, including effectively representing the interests of industry groups in the international context," Mezoui said. "Hence, corporate social and environmental responsibility and codes of conduct have become as relevant to these organizations as to those that are strictly public service related. The World Jewellery Confederation is an example of one of those organizations that has more recently joined the ECOSOC family that has such a blend of objectives."

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