1 December, 2011, Antwerp, Belgium – UNITAR organized its first management course through the Antwerp International Center for Corporate Opportunities (ITCCO) in collaboration with the UN Global Compact Network Belgium.

Entitled “Responsible Management for Sustainability: Embracing the UN Values and Goals in Business Management,” this event was hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC). It brought together over 35 participants, many of them CEOs and senior managers from the diamond industry, banks, government and academia.

In his opening remarks, Ari Epstein, Chief Executive Officer of the AWDC, said: “The organization of the first UNITAR/ITCCO seminar, together with AWDC, underpins the Antwerp diamond sector's commitment to improve governance and transparency. By giving our support to UNITAR/ITCCO, we illustrate that Antwerp is the leading diamond center embedding UN values and ethical business standards.”

This intensive one-day program covered issues such as responsible leadership, UN values and the fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and their concrete implementation. The format of the sessions allowed for strong interaction among participants and with the facilitators.

The participant’s feedback was positive and showed the diamond industry’s willingness to move towards more ethics and social responsibility. Jocelyn Fenard, Senior Specialist at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Manager of the Antwerp ITCCO, commented: “we are very happy and grateful that the AWDC, one of the Antwerp ITCCO’s founding members, hosted this first event. Its success highlights the relevance of the issues that were addressed today and the need for the diamond industry to develop its knowledge and capacity to implement sound CSR policies aligned with UN values.”

In his closing remark, Ludo Van Campenhout, Vice-mayor of Antwerp, referred to the cooperation between the City of Antwerp and UNITAR: “The Rodenborch House that host the Antwerp-ITCCO was originally created in the 17th century to provide more transparency, cooperation and education in the ‘tanning industry’. We are delighted that this house will continue to serve its initial vocation.”

The Antwerp ITCCO is a UN public-private initiative established under the auspices of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). It focuses on CSR trainings through a UN perspective to promote and accelerate the private sector’s adherence to the UN Global Compact principles and progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Its partners are the World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO), the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC), the Fund for the Diamond Industry, the City of Antwerp and the Government of Flanders. More information on: http://www.unitar.org/antwerp-itcco

Photo: Jocelyn Fenard, Senior Specialist at UNITAR and General Manager of the Antwerp ITCCO, and Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC, welcoming participants