NEW YORK – The Jewelry Industry Summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing, has announced speakers and planned poster sessions, as well as additional sponsors for the event. The forum is taking place at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from March 11-13 with an opening reception on the evening of March 10.
The Summit is organized to be an interactive working meeting, with large and small discussion groups assisted by professional facilitators, rather than a full agenda of speakers. The format's central purpose remains attendee participation. However, conference planners have invited a few speakers to share information to help the group gain insight on what constitutes a responsible sourcing program at the current time.
Speakers scheduled to speak so far include Anna Bario, co-owner of designer jewelry brand Bario-Neal, and Stewart Grice, vice president of the supplier Hoover and Strong, which boasts a long-established Harmony brand of recycled and fair trade metals and gems. A representative from sustainable designer brand Melissa Joy Manning will also speak. Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) Executive Director Dorothée Gizenga will address attendees; as will Eric Jens, CEO of ABN AMRO Bank's International Diamond & Jewelry Group. Maria Gorsuch-Kennedy, principal program manager, global products operations sustainability for Dell, the international computer and technology firm, will speak about driving social and environmental responsibility throughout the computer hardware product lifecycle. Gorsuch-Kennedy will also address Dell's membership in the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, one of the most utilized and respected resources for companies that want to avoid sourcing minerals and metals that fuel conflict.
"For industry members who feel that their views have been ignored, for those who are frustrated and angry about current responsible sourcing systems – this is your chance to speak up and be heard," says colored gemstone expert Edward Boehm, president and CEO of Rare Source, who is a member of the Jewelry Industry Summit Planning Committee. "Our collaborative approach to this topic makes it different from other meetings you may have attended. We want to hear from new voices."
"The Summit is organized to hear all viewpoints, from miners to retailers," adds Barbara Wheat, executive vice president of the Natural Color Diamond Association, also a member of the Jewelry Industry Summit Planning Committee. "Our committee, which is made up of companies representing all products, from diamonds, colored gemstones, and precious metals to finished jewelry and timepieces, recognizes that though there are a number of excellent responsible sourcing programs out there, there's never been an industry-wide consensus on what constitutes a vision all stakeholders can support."
The Summit has been coordinated by a group of industry companies (listed below) in every sector of the international trade, also representing all products. The planning committee includes: Ann Arnold, BIG – Buyers Intelligence Group; Lita Asscher, Royal Asscher; Anna Bario, Bario Neal; Robert Bentley, Robert Bentley Company; Mihir Bhansali, Firestar Diamond Inc.; Edward Boehm, Rare Source; David Bouffard, Signet Jewelers Ltd.; Eric Braunwart, Columbia Gem House, Inc.; Lisa Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler; Bruce Bridges, Bridges Tsavorite; Brad Brooks-Rubin, The Enough Project, Brandee Dallow, Rio Tinto Diamonds; Bill Farmer, Farmer’s Jewelry; Jeffrey Fischer, Fischer Diamonds, Inc.; Rebecca Foerster, Leo Schachter Diamonds, LLC; Karen Goracke, Borsheim’s; Stewart Grice, Hoover and Strong; Mark Hanna, Richline; Hayley Henning, True North Gems; Steve Hodgkins, Rolex USA; Christina Miller, Ethical Metalsmiths; and Barbara Wheat, Natural Color Diamond Association.
The Jewelry Industry Summit will also host poster sessions for the three-day event. Among those committed at press time (in alphabetical order): Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), Columbia Gem House, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), Elevate, Ethical Metalsmiths, Hoover and Strong, Martello Risk, Responsible Jewellery Council, Richline Group, Underwriters Laboratories, and the United States Council for International Business.
Summit registration includes free entry and badges to JA New York's spring show, which will also enable badge holders to visit MJSA Expo New York, a show for jewelry makers and designers, and Lueur, an antique jewelry show. All three shows commence on Sunday, March 13 in different parts of the Javits Center in New York City. Summit registration costs $400, with a $50 discount for members of a wide range of industry trade associations. Each association will give its members a promo code to activate the discount. Prospective attendees should confirm with their organizations about the codes before registering. The registration fee includes the cocktail reception on March 10 and all meals during the summit. It also includes an opening day lunch at JA New York.
To register, visit www.jewelryindustrysummit.com.