WDC President applauds GemFair-GIZ-MRU agreement
to deliver training on responsible ASM standards in West Africa
JULY 8, 2020
Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council, has expressed the WDC’s strong support for an agreement announced today by the De Beers Group’s GemFair initiative, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Mano River Union (MRU), according to which the three bodies will collaborate in the development and delivery of a regional training program that promotes safe and responsible operating standards in the artisanal and small-scale mining sectors (ASM) in the MRU member countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
“It is projects like these that demonstrate the capacity of the Kimberley Process and its partners to go beyond the traditional scope of conflict prevention, by also building real grass-roots capacity and economic opportunity in the countries where diamonds are mined,” Mr. Asscher said. “Furthermore, by taking a regional, rather than a country-by-country approach, not only is it possible to offer solutions that are more effective, because supply chains do not stop at border crossings, but also to deliver effective results simultaneously to a considerably larger number of ASM communities than otherwise would be possible. It is an approach that WDC has promoted within the KP for many years.”
Mr. Asscher expressed his pride that a WDC member, the De Beers Group, will be playing a key role in the venture. “The strength of the KP is vested in the synergies created by the coalition of its government and non-government participants, and once again our industry is showing that it is ready to step up to the plate. By teaming up with GIZ and MRU, GemFair will be providing critically needed training about safe and environmentally responsible mining techniques to artisanal miners, government officials and civil society activists in all the MRU countries.”
The proposed regional training program will enhance capacities, promote knowledge sharing and build a comprehensive understanding of mine site health and safety, environmental management, ethical sourcing standards and diamond valuation among miners, government officials and civil society activists in the four MRU countries. Covering the gold and diamond sectors, it will be operated as part of GIZ’s Regional Resource Governance Program, which is implemented on behalf of the German Development Corporation (through the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development) and the European Union. GemFair will design the training curricula and provide staff and expertise to deliver the training.
Edward Asscher named President of the World Diamond Council
JUNE 8, 2020
Edward Asscher is the new President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), the international organization that is charged with leading the industry’s effort to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the jewelry supply chain and with representing it in the tripartite Kimberley Process coalition. Formerly the WDC Vice President, he assumed the role during a virtual Board Meeting on June 5, 2020, taking over from Stephane Fischler, who had served first as WDC’s Acting President, starting in 2017, and then for two years as President, beginning in 2018.
During the virtual meeting, the WDC Board also confirmed the election of Feriel Zerouki, Senior Vice President of International Relations & Ethical Initiatives at the De Beers Group, as WDC Vice President, the first woman ever to hold the position. According to the WDC bylaws, she will automatically become WDC President at the end of Mr. Asscher’s two-year term in 2022.
The Board also confirmed the reelection of Ronnie Vanderlinden, President of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), as WDC Treasurer, and the appointment of Udi Sheintal as WDC Secretary.
A member of one of the diamond industry and Amsterdam’s most well-known families, Mr. Asscher will be serving a second term as WDC President, having held the role from 2014 to 2016.
Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council.
Mr. Asscher currently is also Vice President of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers, and is a past President of both IDMA and the International Diamond Council (IDC), a diamond standards-setting organization affiliated to IDMA and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).
In public life Mr. Asscher has also served in functions outside of the diamond industry. A past President of the Liberal Party in Amsterdam, he was elected Senator for this party in the Dutch parliament, serving in the upper house from 2007 to 2011.
“I am honored to be able to serve once again as WDC President, and to head a body whose entire purpose is to protect the integrity of the natural diamond, and also that of the industry that mines, manufactures and sells it, enabling all stakeholders to gain maximum benefit from revenues generated, especially in the developing world,” said Mr. Asscher. “In taking over from Stephane, I am filling giant shoes. As WDC President he spoke with a clear moral voice, emphasizing the natural diamond’s potential to act as catalyst for social and economic development. This is a theme that I will continue over the coming two years.”
“The past three years have been a highlight of my long career in the diamond industry,” said Mr. Fischler. “They have reconfirmed my belief that as a business community we have the capacity to positively change both people’s lives and livelihoods at the grass-roots level, and we have contributed to this by developing governance standards that will be implemented across the value chain. It has been a privilege to serve alongside WDC’s officers, directors, and member companies and trade organizations, and I am delighted to be handing the torch over to Edward, who once again will bring to the role of President his wealth of wisdom and experience.”
The WDC's first-ever woman Vice President, Feriel Zerouki.
En mémoire de Didier Giard
Didier lors des 18ème Rendez-Vous Gemmologiques en septembre 2019.
Crédit photo: Association Française de Gemmologie.
MAI 7, 2020
Notre industrie a perdu bien trop tôt une de ses gemmes les plus précieuses. Didier Giard était un homme qui réussit à personnifier le meilleur de ce que notre communauté de la joaillerie et des pierres précieuses aspire à trouver en chacun: un sens de l’Histoire et de la tradition, une poursuite incessante du savoir et de la compréhension, une appréciation de l’égalité et de la responsabilité et un engagement envers le service public.
Et bien que sa réputation le précédât, je n’ai rencontré Didier pour la première fois qu’en avril 2019 à Paris, à l’occasion du Forum sur les Chaines d’Approvisionnement de l’OCDE. Il m’a approcha à la fin de l’une des sessions et m’invita à participer à la prochaine conférence annuelle de l’Association Française de Gemmologie dont il était le président.
De toute évidence, c’est un homme passionné qui se tenait devant moi. Complimentant le WDC pour son travail et son engagement, il me dit à quel point il était important pour lui que je vienne partager notre expérience avec les membres de l’industrie française, et en particulier avec les maisons de haute joaillerie et les joailliers indépendants. En m’expliquant le programme qu’il avait en tête pour cet évènement, Didier me fascina par sa vision d’ensemble et à la fois très précise des dynamiques actuelles du monde politico-économique. Il était convaincu que la valeur d’une pierre précieuse ne tenait pas seulement à ses caractéristiques physiques mais aussi à son pouvoir en tant que vecteur de développement économique et social pour les pays qui la produise.
Didier était un homme doté d’une vision du monde au sens large du terme. La géopolitique était sans aucun doute un sujet qui le fascinait, et il admirait notamment le Kimberley Process qui, selon lui, était unique en son genre car ayant réussi l’impossible : rassembler autour d’un objectif commun les plus grands acteurs du monde développé ainsi que ceux en voie de développement.
En apprenant à mieux le connaitre, j’ai eu la chance d’être non seulement témoin de sa curiosité et de son esprit acéré, mais aussi de sa générosité. Récemment, Didier m’avait invité à participer à une séance de l'Académie des Sciences d'Outre-Mer, une autre organisation dont il était membre. Le thème couvrait un sujet qui lui était cher : « Gemmes, Joaillerie et Mondialisation : les mutations en cours ».
Pour Didier, le monde des pierres précieuses n’avait que peu de secrets, mais recelait selon lui une beauté infinie. C’était un hôte hors pair, prêt à tout pour nous distraire, comme ce fameux soir où lors d’un diner dans un restaurant parisien, il s’est levé pour nous faire chanter avec lui “Emmenez-moi” de Charles Aznavour que le pianiste venait d’entamer…
Malheureusement, il n’y aura plus de diners parisiens avec cet enfant de Montmartre, mais le souvenir de cet homme brillant et empli de compassion restera à jamais gravé dans nos mémoires
President, World Diamond Council (WDC)
WDC Executive Director visits Sierra Leone to strongly endorse
regional approach of Mano River Union in support of KPCS
MARCH 2, 2020
ABOVE: WDC Executive Director Elodie Daguzan (second from left), with participants in a workshop held during the meeting of the Mano River Union in Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 25-27, 2020, looking into supporting the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.
Elodie Daguzan, Executive Director of the World Diamond Council (WDC), has expressed the WDC’s strong endorsement for the regional approach by the Mano River Union (MRU) to reinforce the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC), declaring that it will assist artisanal diamond miners gain better access to the legitimate diamond supply chain, while receiving fair value for their work.
Ms. Daguzan was addressing a meeting of the MRU in Freetown, Sierra Leone, held February 25-27, 2020. It focused on a program designed to enhance the implementation of the KPCS and includes capacity-building measures for the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, as well as addressing the prevention of smuggling of precious minerals and gemstones within and from the region.
The three-day workshop was called to design national and regional action plans to formalize artisanal and small-scale mining, with the goal of helping drive revenue back to the mining communities. The project is being implemented by the governments of the MRU—Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea – with the support of Deutsche Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“In terms of volume, artisanal and small-scale miners account for about 15 percent of rough diamond production, but they comprise more than 96 percent of the individuals who earn their living from diamond mining,” stated Ms. Daguzan. “Regional initiatives that are designed to enhance the implementation of the KPCS should focus on allowing these communities to optimize the benefits they receive from their hard work, and their countries realizing the full potential of their natural resources. These include preventing the smuggling of goods across borders, better transparency and enhanced methods for monitoring the extraction and movement of diamonds, and improvements in the capacity to properly evaluate mineral output.”
“All of these are addressed in the MRU regional program,” she added.
The WDC Executive Director said that cooperative initiatives like the MRU’s regional program creates synergies that enhance the value of natural diamonds from the perspectives of both the mining communities and jewelry consumers.
“Just as rough diamond-producing countries contend that their nations should derive full benefit from their own natural resources, young consumers today demand that the products they buy must have social as well as monetary value,” she stated. “The natural diamond’s capacity to contribute to the long-term wellbeing of people and communities in the producing countries should be considered an integral component of our product’s value proposition, for it also addresses the consumer’s aspiration for social significance. It should enhance the value of the jewelry in which diamonds are set, as well as the revenues that flow back to the producing countries, thus generating higher income for each of your individual nations.”
In her address to the gathering, Ms. Daguzan highlighted grass-roots capacity building projects that have been undertaken by WDC members in countries of the MRU. These include De Beers’ GemFair project in the Kono region of Sierra Leone, and the “My Fair Diamond” project of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), which was first launched in the Koidu region of eastern Sierra Leone and is now being expanded to the Banankoro region of Guinea.
Grass-roots projects carried out by industry, supported by regional programs like that of the MRU, will create the synergies “that optimize the artisanally-produced diamond’s potential as an economic and social force,” the WDC Executive Director said.
Ms. Daguzan also outlined the WDC’s new System of Warranties, which incorporates critical elements of responsible corporate practices to ensure the good provenance of diamonds flowing through the chain of distribution, thus complementing current KP standards.
To download the WDC Executive Director’s address to the MRU meeting on February 25, 2020, please CLICK HERE.
WDC invites industry stakeholders to review
new System of Warranties Toolkit
JANUARY 31, 2020
The World Diamond Council (WDC) is encouraging stakeholders to review the WDC System of Warranties (SoW) Toolkit. This follows its unanimous adoption as a working draft by the WDC Board of Directors and its review by WDC members.
The SoW Toolkit, which once released will be made available online at no cost to the industry, is designed to assist members of the diamond trade comply with the revised WDC SoW that was approved in 2018 and is scheduled to be phased in over a five-year period.
Stakeholder who wish to review the toolkit can download a copy from THIS LINK. Comments should be submitted to the WDC no later than March 31, 2020.
First introduced in 2002, the SoW as an industry self-regulation system that requires buyers and sellers of diamonds to pass on a warranty statement on B2B invoices and memos each time stones changes hands, assuring the next buyer that they originated from sources in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Unlike the KPCS, which only covers the trade in rough diamonds, the SoW also applies to the trade in polished diamonds and jewelry set with diamonds. Additionally, it must be applied each time a diamond changes hands, in contrast to the KPCS, where certificates are issued only when rough diamonds are exported from one country or region to another.
The revised system is based on new SoW Guidelines, which were approved in 2018 and reference the following universally recognized documents:
- Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Minimum Requirements and Recommendations on industry self-regulation issues;
- UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;
- UN Convention Against Corruption;
- FAFT 40 Recommendations on Money Laundering for Dealers in Precious Metals and Stones; and
- ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The SoW Toolkit being reviewed is self-assessment questionnaire, where the questions that need to be answered depend upon the business model of the respondent and number of employees at work in the firm. This flexibility will ensure that respondents need to react to questions that are relevant to their businesses. The SoW self-assessment must be completed by every company that includes the revised SoW statement on their invoices, and it will need to be done annually.
Respondents will need to fill out several or all of following sections:
Section 1: KPCS Section, for companies who deal (i.e. buy or sell) rough diamonds;
Section 2: SoW Section, for all companies;
Section 3: Compliance Section, for all companies, although firms with more than 100 employees will be required to respond to more questions than their smaller counterparts; and
Section 4: Companies who source rough from artisanal mining operations.
“The stakeholder review is the final stage in the rollout of the new SoW Toolkit, and is a most critical one,” explained WDC President Stephane Fischler. “Our goal is to strengthen the System of Warranties, and in so doing reinforce the integrity of the diamond distribution chain. For this we are seeking the perspective of a range of experts. I call our colleagues to contribute.”
World Diamond Council proudly announces appointment
of Elodie Daguzan as its new Executive Director
JANUARY 28, 2020
ABOVE: Elodie Daguzan, WDC’s newly appointed Executive Director.
Elodie Daguzan is to become the new Executive Director of the World Diamond Council (WDC), following the approval of her appointment by the organization’s Board of Directors. She will officially assume duties on February 1, 2020.
A French native, Ms. Daguzan is a 19-year veteran of the diamond industry, having filled a variety of roles in various sectors of the value chain. Over this period, she held positions at several of the most prestigious high-end jewelry brands, and for the past eight years has been Head of Communications and Industry Relations at Rubel & Ménasché, a Paris-based diamond trading company. There she was charged with educating the company’s clients about industry supply-chain developments, from mine to retail. Starting in 2017, Ms. Daguzan has represented the company in the WDC, serving as an active member of the Kimberley Process Task Force, and also of the Communications, Membership and Strategic Planning committees.
A graduate of the Paris-Sorbonne, from which she received a degree in archeology in 2000, Ms. Daguzan is additionally a certified gemologist, having studied at the National Institute of Gemology in Paris and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York, from which she was awarded a Graduate Diamonds Diploma in 2004.
“We are delighted and most fortunate to have Elodie join us as Executive Director,” said WDC President Stephane Fischler. “She comes to the position with an innate understanding of the diamond industry and of the critical role played by the World Diamond Council. She also has the advantage of having represented the WDC in Kimberley Process Intersessionals and Plenaries around the world. We are confident that, through the contributions in her new role, the WDC will be even further strengthened.”
“I am honored to join the staff of the WDC, and to be provided the opportunity of helping lead this uniquely positioned organization as it represents industry within the KP into the future,” said Ms. Daguzan. “These are particularly challenging times for the KP and the WDC, as it continually strives to ensure consumer confidence in diamonds, and meet the expectations of today’s customers.”
Ms. Daguzan takes over as WDC Executive Director from Marie-Chantal Kaninda, who stepped down from the position toward the end of 2019 for a new opportunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The WDC thanks Ms. Kaninda for her extraordinary service to the industry and the KP.