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CIBJO Pearl Report : Demands For Quantifiable Environmental Achievements


With fewer than three weeks to go to the opening of the 2023 CIBJO Congress in Jaipur, India, on 3rd October, 2023, the eighth of the pre-congress Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, headed by Kenneth Scarratt, the report considers how public demand and legislation are requiring pearl producers to provide science-based evidence of compliance with accepted environmental standards.


The recent adoption of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) for large and listed organisations doing business in and with Europe will significantly accelerate the transition from voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) claims to more science-based environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, notes Scarratt in his report. Under the legislation, companies will have to report both on their impact on people and the environment, and on how social and environmental issues create financial risk and opportunities.


To assist members of the pearl and jewellery sectors, a special committee operating under the auspices of the Pearl Commission has been working on a pearl sustainability section that will be added to the CIBJO Pearl Guide. Entitled “Social, Environmental and Economic Impact of Natural and Cultured Pearls,” it currently awaits discussion and approval at the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Jaipur.


Noting that pearl farmers have always been incentivised to maintain the quality of the marine environment so as to ensure the health of the oysters, Scarratt writes that “responsible players have gone beyond chasing productivity gains and mitigating risks to actively manage their social and environmental impact.”


One problem that is becoming increasingly evident is microplastics in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Scarratt cites a study that suggests that microplastics exposure may impact the appearance of biominerals and the expression of biomineralisation-related genes, which pose a new potential threat to aquatic organisms.


The extensive Special Report also includes in-depth contributions from representatives of the pearl sector in Bahrain, Japan and Australia, and from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) and the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT), three of world’s leading pearl research bodies.



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