The diamond industry must deliver on its promise that consumers can trust the diamonds they purchase are sourced, traded, and processed responsibly, said a coalition of concerned civil society organizations today.
“Time is up for the diamond industry. Image is everything to the value of diamonds, yet the industry continues to be tainted by association with human rights abuses like child labour and forced labour, as well as conflict, environmental damage, and corruption. If the diamond industry genuinely wants to address these issues, it needs to clean-up its act and no longer approach respect for human rights and responsible business as an optional exercise,” Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.
The diamond industry itself has persistently failed to take meaningful measures to clean up the diamond trade
The appeal comes as members of the international community gather in Brussels for the Kimberley Process Plenary—the initiative through which participating governments certify rough diamonds as conflict-free, using a narrow definition of diamonds that have been used by rebel groups to finance their activities. The diamond industry is represented in the Kimberley Process by the World Diamond Council (WDC), an umbrella group for the world’s largest diamond producers, jewellers, and exchanges.
The WDC announced on October 25 that its members had passed proposed reforms to its flagship self-regulation instrument, known as the System of Warranties. Through the new System of Warranties Guidelines, the diamond industry claims to provide assurances to consumers beyond the Kimberley Process certificate that their diamonds have been sourced, processed and traded responsibly. However, despite the reforms, the System of Warranties still falls far short of international standards for responsible company behavior—including by stating that respect for human rights by companies is “voluntary.”
“This so-called upgrade by the WDC to its self-regulation guidelines...