OCTOBER 5, 2021
Since the start of the Kimberley Process, members of the diamond trade have been adding a declaration to their sales documents, each time a transaction is finalized along the entire supply chain, from mine to retail. It’s become a customary act in our industry, but a massively important one, for it verifies to the next participant in the supply chain that the diamonds involved are compliant with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), and thus can be considered “conflict free” according to KP doctrine.
This is the WDC’s System of Warranties (SoW), an industry-applied mechanism that links rough and polished diamonds to the KP certificate with which they originally were associated, each time the stones change hands. Participants are also required to store copies of SoW declarations made and received, so that a verifiable trail, a “chain of warranties,” is created as diamonds move through the pipeline.
The SoW was born out of the will of the WDC to strengthen and expand the KPCS and create the industry’s first self-regulation mechanism.
On September 21, 2021, the UN-recognized International Day of Peace, the WDC launched its upgraded System of Warranties, and in so doing raised the bar considerably in respect to the ethical and social integrity of the diamonds being sold. It includes a revised declaration to be added to the sales document, which not only states that the diamonds are compliant with the KPCS, but that they also meet the standards of the WDC System of Warranties Guidelines, which require that they have been handled in accordance with universally accepted human and labor rights, and according to global anti-corruption and anti-money laundering principles.
But that is not all. For the first time the upgraded SoW prescribes a specific process that needs to be followed so that the revised declaration can be applied. This includes registering on a dedicated SoW website (www.wdcsow.org), and once a year successfully completing an online self-assessment to ascertain that you are in compliance with the KPCS and the WDC System of Warranties Guidelines. The self-assessment is supported by a dedicated Toolkit and is customized according to the size of your organization, be you an SME or large corporation, your business activities and whether you are already compliant with one of our industry’s third-party verified compliance systems, like the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Code of Practices and De Beers’ Best Practice Principles Assurance Program.
Earlier this year when I addressed the Intersessional Meeting of the Kimberley Process, I urged its Participants to meet the expectations of both consumers and those living in the mining communities, by expanding the scope of the KP Core Document to include the protection of universal human rights, social rights and environmental sustainability. But I also declared that our industry would not wait idly by, before acting on its own. With the launch of the upgraded SoW, I said, we would be “sending a strong signal that we are ready to reform.”
When I referred our business community, I spoke in the very broadest sense. This upgraded SoW is for the entire diamond and jewelry industry. It represents a defining moment. From the point that each of us adopts it, as a benchmark of doing business, we will be declaring every time that the diamonds we are selling have been handled in accordance with universal human rights and ethical business principles. It does not detract from the KPCS, but it certainly builds on what the KPCS currently promises.
For WDC this has been a substantial undertaking, involving hundreds of hours of research and development. Allow me to pay tribute to the special task force that was created years ago, and also the dedicated launch team at the WDC, the many members and industry leaders who have committed to serving as SoW Ambassadors over the weeks and months ahead, and to the industry associations that will be partnering with us in educating the industry about implementing the revised mechanism.
But, ultimately, the success of the venture, which will reflect on the entire diamond industry, will depend on you and your participation. I encourage you, today, to link to the dedicated SoW website at www.wdcsow.org, register, do the self-assessment, and become the next adoptee of the upgraded WDC System of Warranties, taking our industry to a new level of self-regulation.