World Jewellery Federation Defends SMEs at UN SDG Forum

22/07/2019 15:24

Speaking at a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which took place during the UN’s 2019 "High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development", The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) president Gaetano Cavalieri advocated for the position of small and medium-sized enterprises. Sustainable economies rely on the contribution of SMEs, he said, but too often they find themselves operating at a severe disadvantage when compared to larger companies. The Forum 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).

"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,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “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.” Echoing the 2019 HLPF’s theme of “Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” the CIBJO President stressed that ways must be found to raise the involvement of all players in the business sector in capacity-building and sustainable development. Remaining inclusive, he said, means not disadvantaging SMEs. 

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