Last month JCK reported that CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, had left the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices, a new international organization that CIBJO helped to found. (See “CIBJO Withdraws From Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices,” JCK, October 2005, p. 136.) To gain some insight into CIBJO’s decision, JCK talked to the organization’s president, Gaetano Cavalieri.

JCK: Why, after helping found CRJP, did CIBJO decide to leave?

Gaetano Cavalieri: The position that CIBJO had held in the CRJP was one that we were never comfortable with.

JCK: Why not?

GC: Eleven [of 13 original Council members] were privately or publicly owned jewelry companies. In such a constellation, we did not believe that we could defend properly the interests of the people we represent. [CIBJO is made up mainly of national jewelry associations, which represent the interests of tens of thousands of companies involved in the business worldwide.]

JCK: What would it take for CIBJO to return?

GC: For CIBJO to be part of CRJP, the organization has to be restructured so that it properly reflects the composition of the international jewelry sector. If this does not happen, it essentially will operate as a group of large companies imposing their will upon everyone else. It is this that we are trying to prevent. For us to lend our support to the CRJP, or any such organization for that matter, the CRJP will have to enact structural changes that will make it into a fully inclusive body, which is accessible to all the legitimate players in the industry.

JCK: What specific steps are you looking for from CRJP?

GC: One, its decision-making organs must reflect the makeup of the industry. The organization will not be accepted by the rank and file if it is seen to represent the specific interests of a small group of large and powerful companies.

Two, it will have to ensure that membership in the organization does not represent an undue financial burden on a company, and to do that it will have to take into consideration the conditions under which companies operate. In other words, a firm that reports $10 million worth of revenue in the retail sector should not be looked at the same way as a firm reporting $10 million in the loose diamond sector, where profit margins are significantly narrower.

Three, it cannot operate a monitoring function that does not account for the size and capability of its members. A small operation with limited means cannot be expected to devote the same type of resources toward third-party inspectors as does a larger firm.

Four, the CRJP itself has to have the capacity to process all those who apply for membership. So it does not make sense to create a structure that, given the administrative and personnel costs, could not ever process more than a handful of companies. We cannot have a situation in which a company is turned away or told to wait for an inordinate period of time, simply because CRJP lacks the necessary means. And remember, we are talking about an industry that includes thousands of companies, located in just about every country on the face of this globe.