Jul 18, 2019

CIBJO President Calls on UN to Help SMEs Find Ways to Meet Sustainable Development Goals

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri told a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) that ways must be found to ensure that small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) in the jewellery industry are not placed at a disadvantage while striving to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing the meeting, which took place during the United Nation’s 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, Cavalieri said that currently, sustainable economies rely on the contribution of SMEs, but too often these smaller companies find themselves operating at a severe disadvantage when compared to larger ones.

“One of the challenges we have faced in raising the positive developmental impact of SMEs in the jewellery and gemstone business is that, frequently, the due-diligence and financial requirements necessary to demonstrate that they comply with responsible business practices place them at a significant disadvantage,” Cavalieri stated.

“In the jewellery business this is particularly ironic because, although turnover is dominated by a relatively small number of large corporations and brands, employment and company ownership are overwhelmingly vested with SMEs, most of which are family owned,” he added.

The HLPF is the international body’s main platform for monitoring follow-up on the actions of states and other actors towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its theme for this year is "Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness”.

Opening the HLPF session the day before, UN Secretary General António Guterres had said that the world’s people are demanding “transformative change that is fair and sustainable.”

“The evidence is clear,” the UN Secretary General stated, “development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive – and rising inequality hinders long-term growth.”

CIBJO was attending the HLPF in its capacity as the international jewellery sector’s representative in the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is the principal body for coordinating policy review, dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. CIBJO was awarded special consultative status in ECOSOC in 2006, and that same year joined the UN Global Compact, which the global network of sustainable companies and organisations that pledge to align their strategies and operations with basic principle on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Pic caption: Members of the panel during the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) session at the United Nations listening to the intervention by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

Pic courtesy: CIBJO