The Great Debate 2012 – “Making a Difference”

Steve Bennett and children in Zambia

The Great Debate has moved on another stride and this year showcases three very different companies who are “Making a Difference” in their own individual way.

Now in its sixth year, The Great Debate will be held at the International Jewellery London Show on Monday 3rd September starting at 12 noon.

A joint initiative between The Birmingham Assay Office and Reed Exhibitions, The Debate focuses on ethical, social, humanitarian, and environmental issues in the jewellery industry. It aims to inform, to provoke thought, and to prompt action.

In previous years The Debate has identified that there is more than one way to respond to the challenges. This year it focuses on smaller localised projects that UK businesses have undertaken which demonstrate that you can make a difference in your own way.

Delegates are invited to share the inspirational enthusiasm of the panellists, learn how they are making a difference, and express their own views and ideas on topical ethical, social, and humanitarian issues.

Michael Allchin

Chaired by Michael Allchin, Chief Executive of The Birmingham Assay Office, “Making a Difference” will involve three very different panellists whose companies are each making a contribution in their own way.

Headline speaker Steve Bennett of The Genuine Gemstone Company (formerly Gems TV) is involved in several community based projects, particularly in Africa, in communities which he visits when buying gemstones.

Steve works in tandem with existing organisations such as ACE Africa and is the catalyst for new additional projects associated with education and health. In this way a focussed injection of energy or cash can spark a sustainable project making a significant difference to the life of a whole community.

Vanessa Burkitt is deeply committed to the work of the Catherine Jones Foundation which is currently focussing on education for the orphans of the tsunami. While not directly connected to the jewellery supply chain it is being funded by Catherine Jones Jewellers who have family connections in India and are working from the heart to make a difference.

Adam Jacobs is co founder with Peter Ungar of Foundation Jewellery, a small UK manufacturer who style themselves as a luxury ethical jewellery maker. They are licensed to use the Fairtrade Gold mark and are an example of a relatively small, new business who also want to do their bit.

As ever there will be the opportunity for lively debate after the presentations. All are welcome to share their experiences and their views. There is no need to book just come to the Inspirations Theatre at IJL for 12 noon on Monday 3rd September. The Debate will close at 1.15pm.

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