Greg is one of the founders of the Society of St. Columba, a new monastic community on the south coast of the British Isles. The community seeks to model the monastic principles of St. Columba, prayer, work and reading. St Columba was one of the finest examples of a truly dynamic indigenous apostle expression of historic British & Irish monasticism that came to be known as Celtic Christianity. Greg, alongside the St. Columba community, has begun work on renovating an historic 23-acre organic farmstead at Chanctonbury, West Sussex in the British Isles. This new monastic foundation is a living expression of the principle of ‘Starting Again’ and rediscovering the vibrancy of Christian Spiritual practice and contemplation of the Creator. Greg holds an MA in Celtic Christianity, is a qualified spiritual director in the Franciscan tradition and is learning to be a shepherd of the sheep by working with The Wild Ones Flock of rare breed Manx Loaghtan, Shetland & Icelandic sheep.
Greg continues to pursue God’s Justice on behalf of the poor, marginalized and forgotten communities across the world. As a maverick and visionary, Greg Valerio founded CRED Jewellery – the world’s first Fairtrade Jewellery company in 1996 and in 2004 became the first ethical jewellery business to offer ‘green’ (mercury-free) wedding rings. In 2011, after many years of campaigning, Greg was instrumental in seeing the first kilo bar of certified Fairtrade Gold come the markets. Currently he is working at peace building and mercury free mining in Democratic Republic of Congo, a Peace Gold programme designed specifically at restoring and healing ex-combatants from the war through responsible small-scale gold mining.
Greg was awarded the Global Campaigner of the year 2011 by The Observer Newspaper Ethical Awards. Greg was honoured in 2016 with an MBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours list for his services to Fairtrade and artisanal gold mining communities in South America and Africa. Respected for his creativity and reviled for his compassion, the destinations Greg often visits are like apocalyptic scenes – Sierra Leone diamond mines, Congolese gold mines and Indian gemstone mines where adults and children worked knee-high in mud, exploited by local and international traders, a modern-day slavery of extreme proportions. Greg has confronted the industry giants and power brokers – to create a way for justice in jewellery – to pursue human rights for the local indigenous miners and their communities addressing poverty, health issues, empowering women, alleviating child labour and pursuing environmental justice for their polluted ecosystems. Greg is the author of Making Trouble, his personal story about fighting for justice in jewellery.