Jewellery at Whose Expense? A GBSM Seminar (Rotterdam - 14.10.11)

Seminar Background

The “ GBSM Congress 2011: Jewellery, at what expense?”  took place at Friday the 14 th of October 2011. 65 enthusiastic participants joined for a multi-stakeholder debate on the gold industry and its environmental and social impacts.

On the content of the congress -  Frans Deelen) introduced the topic siting that almost 35% of the gold mined today, takes place in countries which are ranked by the Fund for Peace with an “alert” status. Additionally, between 50 and 80% of the recycled and mined Gold is produced into our Jewellery.  

Dr. William Tsuma, affiliated researcher at the university of Bonn and programme Manager for preventive action at GPPAC gave an outline of his Phd research and addressed the different governance gaps within the African context. Jennifer Horning, international program coordinator Gold of Solidaridad, gave insight into small and fair-trade mining operations. If these are managed well, they could be a step forward in reducing poverty in small mining communities.

Hans Bolsher, associated partner at ECORYS, made the participants aware of the complexity of the issue; a real fairytale illustrated that also western governments, in this case the Dutch government, make similar mistakes as its African counter parts. He also stimulated critical thinking by posing the Why and How questions. It was made clear that there are no easy solutions especially highlighting the gap between regulation and enforcement.

Chris Kusher managing director of Cookson Drijfhout BV, explained the position of the Responsible Jewellery Council and how it is working towards certification of its members. Additionally, he gave perspective on market based initiatives making clear that his company offers an umbrella of choice (e.g. ethical, green, fair trade and recycled).

After the last presentation, an interactive panel discussion gave the audience the opportunity to join the debate. This panel discussion was successfully moderated by Eric Stam from the Erasmus Debating Society.

(This background is borrowed from Frans Deelen's summation on

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