Community Interest Statement
As part of Nineteen48's conversion from a limited company to a community interest company, it was required to make a statement about how the company's activities benefit the community. The statement is shown below.
Community Interest Statement
My company’s activities benefit the community by promoting and supporting the fair trade of artisanal gemstone miners and gemstone cutters (lapidaries), with a focus on poorly paid miners and cutters in Sri Lanka and Tanzania, as well as the wider support of their communities.
Tens of millions of people worldwide rely on artisanal and small-scale mining and gem cutting for their income. They are mostly located in some of the poorest countries in the world and operate in harsh conditions at a subsistence level. Historically, gemstone miners have been exploited by the jewellery industry and generated very little value from their hard work. They have received a pitiful amount of money for the gems that have been resold to make big profits for middlemen or jewellery companies.
My company is working closely with miners, cutters, mine owners, charities, not-for-profit and commercial organisations to increase the revenue generated for the mining communities from a subsistence level, so that they can attain a decent standard of living. This involves circumventing many of the middlemen who have taken money away from the miners and cutters and into their own pockets.
My company purchases gemstones directly from the miners and cutters at fair prices in open negotiations, often educating them about the true value of the gemstones rather than buying at the unfair prices that have been commonplace in the past. This increased income enables them to improve the quality of their lives and generates revenue that boosts the overall local economies, spreading the benefits to the wider community.
The short-term aim is to remove exploitation of the miners and cutters, so that they are properly rewarded and have a fair share of the profits made by the sales of the gemstones. However, longer-term, we hope to see that this development of the economy leads to essential improvements in infrastructure (water and power supply, roads, schools and medical facilities). There are examples of where this has been achieved by similar projects.
Over and above the commitment to fair and equitable trading, my company allocates 25% of its net profits to donate, with the consent of the CIC Regulator, to selected charities operating in the countries where the gemstones are sourced or to facilitate activities that bring benefits to the miners (these activities focus on education and training, so that miners and cutters can work more safely and minimise their environmental impact).
We are introducing new activities that will diversify the miners’ revenue streams and to promote related educational activities that will benefit those communities.
My company devotes a significant amount of time and effort to promoting the plight of the miners and cutters to the broader jewellery industry, so that more people understand why it is important to change the way in which we engage with this segment of our supply chain. This is done mostly by participating in voluntary educational conferences, webinars and other events.