Indian diamond producer Hari Krishna’s Dholakia Foundation will be the only diamond and jewellery organisation at the UN’s first Water Conference to take place in 46 years
The philanthropy arm of Indian diamond manufacturer Hari Krishna Exports, the Dholakia Foundation, a leader in water conservation projects, is the only organisation associated with the global gem and jewellery industry, which is participating at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York, convened by the UN General Assembly, from 22 to 24 March. The last UN conference on water took place in 1977. The Dholakia Foundation will also host a Gala Dinner on 19 March in New York announcing its commitments to water conservation and the Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030, established by Kering and Cartier.
The UN 2023 Water Conference will tackle topics including drought risk, biodiversity, access to clean water and basic hand hygiene in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Out of 728 private organisations attending the conference, 29 Indian organisations have been accredited. Other organisations attending the include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Deloitte Consulting, Gap, Heineken, Gallup, BHP and Goldsmiths, University of London.
Hari Krishna Exports is one of the largest producers of diamonds in the world and supplies industry giants including luxury jewellers Tiffany and the world’s largest diamond jewellery retailer Signet. Hari Krishna and The Dholakia Foundation’s founder is Savjibhai Dholakia, perhaps best known for implementing a company Loyalty Bonus Program for staff which since 2014 has rewarded over 4600 staff for their hard work with incentives in the form of houses, cars and jewellery. In 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Hari Krishna’s Incentive Ceremony to congratulate staff handing over keys personally to some employees and joining 25,000 family members via a video conference.
On a mission to lead a revolution in lake construction in order to eradicate the water crisis, Hari Krishna’s Dholakia Foundation recently dedicated the 111th lake it has created in India, with the goal of eliminating drought, disease and economic hardship caused by acute water shortages. The lakes have been built on surface areas of 200 acres, bringing water to nearby villages and creating fertile land for agriculture. The process of constructing one lake can take 20 days with trucks working 24 hours a day and involves excavating 20,000 tonnes of unfertile soil and embedding pipes under the earth to transport water to local areas.
The lakes constructed by the Dholakia Foundation have turned desert wasteland into green landscape. 200,000 farmers have benefitted from water levels having increased in wells within a 1000 metre radius, greenery is now evident within 18 kilometres of lakes, farmers’ incomes have increased and their profit has increased three-fold, according to the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology.
Hari Krishna was founded in 1992 by Savjibhai Dholakia, who left school aged 12, dreaming of making his fortune in the diamond business, after witnessing poverty around him largely due to water scarcity. Today Hari Krishna employs 8000 staff, has a turnover of $1.5bn and in 2022 Savjibhai Dholakia was given one of India’s most distinguished honours by the Indian Government, the Padma Shri Award. But Savjibhai Dholakia’s personal dream to eradicate the water crisis is still very much in progress.
Founder of Hari Krishna and the Dholakia Foundation, Savjibhai Dholakia says;
“For Hari Krishna’s Dholakia Foundation to be accredited as part of the UN 2023 Water Conference in recognition of our water conservation projects, and the 111 lakes we have created in India, is a historic moment for our family as we share on an international stage our commitment to solve the water crisis. I want to ensure our knowledge unites and helps other diamond-producing nations and other countries. I don’t want to die until I solve the water crisis in India. As a child in the village of Dudhala in Gujarat, I witnessed acute water scarcity and my fellow villagers’ daily struggle for water, and I became determined to turn our dry and barren motherland green. It was only a decade ago looking at Google Earth images online that I was struck visually by the shocking extent of the crisis. Less than 3% of water is drinkable and climate change makes rainwater even more scarce. The Dholakia Foundation’s mission to build even more lakes is crucial to changing India’s fate and to a new dawn of empowered farmers.”
On Sunday 19 March, Hari Krishna Exports will host a Gala Dinner and networking evening at 583 Park Avenue in New York, which will include a personal welcome from Savjibhai Dholakia and a panel discussion on the theme of ‘Water Conservation To Nurture Life and Generations’ with Gina Drosos, CEO, Signet; Paul Rowley, VP Sales, De Beers; Brad Hampton, CEO, Helzberg; Susan Jacques, CEO, GIA and Ghanshyambahi Dholakia, MD, Hari Krishna Exports.
During the event, Hari Krishna will inaugurate its recently created sustainable lakes, naming them in honour of De Beers, Signet, GIA, Helsberg Diamonds and others to be confirmed. Hari Krishna will also join with Iris Van der Veken to announce its commitment to the Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030, established by Kering and Cartier. In addition, the Dholakia Foundation will announce its commitments to the UN Water Action Agenda.
Confirmed guests at the event also include Melanie Grant, executive director of the Responsible Jewellery Council, and Kristina Buckley Kayel, managing director North America at the Natural Diamond Council.