PRESS RELEASES 2005

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PRESS RELEASES 20052019-04-16T14:52:09+02:00
25March 2021

WDC Newsletter


UNITED RESOLVE AND COOPERATION WILL DRIVE US FORWARD

Dear colleagues and friends,

I’m delighted to be writing to you for the first time since being elected vice president of the World Diamond Council (WDC). In a year that brought such immense challenges for our industry, being appointed to this role was a source of both gratitude and inspiration for me – gratitude at being afforded the opportunity to take on a greater role in an organization that has been transformational in upholding the integrity of the diamond industry for more than 20 years;  and inspiration because I believe the role of the WDC has never been more relevant.

As consumer and industry expectations regarding conflict diamonds continue to evolve – which has only been further heightened by the pandemic – I’m energized and humbled to be part of the WDC’s ongoing impact and drive for continued progress, driven by our President Edward Asscher and previous leaders before him.

It’s also given me cause to reflect on my own journey in the diamond industry, which started not too long after the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme first came into force. While I didn’t know where my career would take me when I first started out as an analyst at De Beers Group in 2005, I knew early on that the movement to eradicate conflict diamonds from the supply chain and protect communities, while uplifting responsible sourcing standards, was where my heart lay. Little did I know this would be key in shaping the industry’s future. And, as it turned out, my own future in the industry.

Many of you may not be aware that I belong to a small community in a beautiful area called M’daourouch in the Aures Mountains of eastern Algeria in Africa. I am privileged to have been afforded the opportunities that I have due to the hard work of my parents. Many have not and I do not take this for granted, nor distance myself from these realities.  I’ve had an incredible journey, and many people both within and outside the industry have played a strong role in developing my knowledge and trust in believing what could be achieved.

My parents always empowered me to be curious, taught me to look beyond perceptions and be unapologetic about my values. They have been pivotal in helping me understand the strength of my own and others potential, and the value of working together for a common goal, despite our differences. This is what I love about our industry – we are all different, and our diverse views and experiences make us stronger.

With my analyst days now behind me, in more recent years I’ve led the establishment of De Beers Group’s own responsible sourcing and ethical practices criteria, of which the Kimberley Process (KP) is a foundational element. My key financial and analytical skills have given me the competency to really understand the sometimes challenging line to tread between commercial and ethical objectives, and to […]

25March 2021

WDC Newsletter


The World Diamond Council is proud to welcome into the organization the following new members:

A. GUL KG

Founded in 1967, A. Gul KG is a leading diamond wholesaler in Germany. Headquartered in Pforzheim, the city famous for its long association with the gold industry, it also operates an office at the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan.

Under the leadership of Eitan Gul, A.Gul KG has emphasized supply chain integrity as a core value in its relationship with its clients, and only trades verifiable responsibly sourced natural diamonds. In 2013 it became the first diamond wholesaler to be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), and since that date has been re-certified three times.

A.Gul KG now becomes the first German diamond trading company to be accepted as a member of the World Diamond Council.

Eitan Gul (left), Chief Executive Officer, and Alexander Gul, Chief Operating Officer, A. Gul KG.

RESPONSIBLE JEWELLERY COUNCIL

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is the leading standards organization of the global jewelry and watch industry. It has more than 1,300 member companies that span the jewelry supply chain from mine to retail.

RJC Members commit to and are independently audited against the RJC Code of Practices (COP), an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, colored gemstones, silver, gold and platinum group metals. It addresses human rights, labor rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics.

RJC also works with multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible sourcing and supply chain due diligence. Its Chain-of-Custody Certification (CoC) for precious metals supports these. Through the implementation of the COP and CoC, RJC members contribute towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 agenda.

RJC is a Full Member of the ISEAL Alliance – the global association for sustainability standards. It has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact since 2009.

Iris Van der Veken (left), Executive Director, and David Bouffard, Chair, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

25March 2021

WDC Newsletter


WORLD JEWELRY CONFEDERATION PROMOTES INDUSTRY’S ROLE
AS AN INITIATOR OF SUSTAINABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT

ABOVE: Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand, flanked by Thai government ministers and world jewelry industry leaders, at the opening of the CIBJO Congress in Bangkok in October 2017.

In 2001, shortly after becoming president of CIBJO, Gaetano Cavalieri joined other jewelry and gemstone sector leaders at a conference in New York. There they were attacked by representatives of human rights groups, who essentially accused the industry of complicity in crimes being committed by rebel groups plundering diamond fields in a number of African countries.

The event took place during the height of the conflict diamond crisis, several months after the establishment of the World Diamond Council, of which CIBJO was among the original members.

“What our critics were unaware of, or possibly they chose to ignore, is that the Kimberley Process had been established one year earlier, and for months governments, civil society and the diamond and jewelry industries had been holding discussions about an international certification system that could end the trade in conflict diamonds,” Dr. Cavalieri recalls. That system, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), was launched worldwide at the beginning of January 2003.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri addressing the High Level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council in Geneva in 2014, and being greeted by Pope Francis during a 2017 conference on ethics in business in Vatican City, where the CIBJO President was a featured speaker.

But for the CIBJO president, the experience of being publicly criticized was a seminal moment. “It convinced me that our industry needed a voice in the very places where human rights, ethical business principles and sustainable development were being discussed,” he said. The correct address for that was the United Nations Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC, an agency that brings under one roof representatives of governments, business and civil society. One year earlier it had assumed the task of advancing the Millennium Development Goals, which had been declared in 2000 by the then-UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan.

“So just several months later, and again in July 2002, I traveled to New York and knocked on the doors of ECOSOC. My goal was that CIBJO, as the most representative body in the world jewelry industry, would come to be recognized as an NGO within the organization, just like those that had accused us of complicity in the conflict diamond crisis,” he said.

United Nations of the Jewelry Business

In many respects, CIBJO already functioned as the United Nations of the jewelry business.  Founded in Paris in 1926 as BIBOA, as an organization representing the interests of the trade in Europe, it was restructured as the World Jewelry Confederation (Confédération Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie, des Diamants, Perles et Pierres) in 1961, with a global focus. […]

25March 2021

WDC Newsletter

“Women of the Diamond Industry” focuses on the issue of gender equality along the entire diamond and jewelry supply chain. The series provides a platform for women in the industry to tell their own stories and describe the particular challenges they have faced in their careers.

The fifth article in the series is authored by Prernaa Makhariaa, the founder of Style Prer. An advisor to the industry, she is widely recognized as India’s first jewelry influencer.

A WOMAN OF INFLUENCE

Prernaa Makharia, one of India’s most keenly followed jewelry influencers, promoting Forevermark diamond jewelry in August 2020.

The journey I have traveled as a jewelry influencer has not been easy, not least because people would often struggle to understand the role that I play, which is producing original content about jewelry from a personal perspective, which my followers may use to make a purchasing decision.

During the initial years, when I would approach brands, their representatives would often ask me in which magazine they would be covered, or on what television channel their advertisement would be showcased. They did not understand the concept of influencing via the social media, let alone blogging. Often, they would consider what I do to be modeling or brand endorsement. Neither did they understand the kind of audience I was targeting, or the impact I could create.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, I had initially wanted to pursue a career in character animation, but the opportunities in India were limited. Being my parent’s only child, I did not want to move to the United States to pursue it.

Jewelry was a ready alternative. My family belongs to the Marwari community, which is well established in the Indian industry and loves jewelry. I had grown up seeing some of the best jewels available. It was a subject that came naturally to me.

I gravitated towards jewelry design, choosing some of the most prestigious institutions to attain my formal training. These included the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Gemological Institute of India (GII) and Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Women’s University

In 2002 I started to design and manufacture jewelry under my own brand, Prernaa Makhariaa.

Jewelry influencer Prernaa Makhariaa. 

Role Models and Mentors

We are an orthodox Marwari family, in which working late hours or traveling is considered a challenge for women. However, my late maternal grandfather and my mother stood by me always, giving me the wings to fly. My mother became the backbone of my career, helping me forge the path I have made for myself.

I am also grateful to my mentor Rajeev Seth, for whom who I worked with for five years, heading the jewelry product development and merchandising department for a retail chain of 50 stores across India. He allowed me to explore my dreams. He encouraged me to be bold, which is unlike how many men in […]

25March 2021

WDC Newsletter


WHY KIMBERLEY PROCESS CERTIFICATES LACK
A STANDARD FORMAT AND LAYOUT

By Mark Van Bockstael
Chair, KP Working Group of Diamond Experts
Chairman, WDC Technical Committee

It must be one of the most frequently encountered questions about the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) – Why is there no single standard shape or form to a Kimberley Process certificate?

Indeed, each and every KP country – or “KP Participant” in KP-speak – issues certificates that look and feel different to those of its neighbors. Over the years, diamond traders, forwarders, customs agents and law enforcement professionals have complained about the lack of standardization, and how it impacts on them doing their job. For one thing, they say, it makes looking out for counterfeits more complicated than it should be.

This was not due to any oversight or administrative mix-up. It was the result of how the Kimberley Process came together and how some old ghosts from the past still haunt us.

As is well documented, the KP was launched in May 2000 to discuss how a worldwide rough diamond certification system could break the link between diamonds and conflict in Africa.

It was realized at the time that the rebel forces plundering the diamond fields may be able to evade the UN sanctions on rough diamond exports from certain afflicted countries, by falsely claiming that the stones they held had originated in a non-sanctioned nation.

Such a problem, the KP founders believed, could be countered by having government-controlled authorities in rough diamond-producing countries issue certificates for all legal output in their own territories. Since conflict diamonds held by rebels would not be able to receive bona fide certification, they would be removed from the legitimate diamond pipeline.

UN Resolutions and Certificates of Origin

Government-issued certificates for rough diamond shipments actually precede the Kimberley Process. The very first embargo associated with conflict diamonds was approved by the United Nations Security Council in June 1998, and involved stones being traded by rebels in Angola.  It ruled that the only rough diamonds eligible for export from the country were those carrying an official Certificate of Origin issued by the Angolan government, verifying that they were sourced in areas under its control.

Two years later, a second UN Security Council rough diamond embargo was approved, this time covering goods traded by rebel forces in Sierra Leone. The resolution essentially copy-pasted the wording used in the first embargo, this time referring to a Sierra Leonean Certificate of Origin.

By mid-2002, six months before the launch of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme at the start of the following year, the governments of four diamond-producing countries were issuing Certificates of Origin with each legal shipment of rough diamonds – Angola, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was being done in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, or as follow-up to recommendations from the relevant UN Panel of Experts.

Certificates Transformed, from Low-Tech to High-Tech

The […]

25March 2021

WDC Newsletter


EIGHT WORDS AND A SET OF FOUNDATIONAL CONVENTIONS 
THAT EXPAND THE SCOPE OF THE WDC SYSTEM OF WARRANTIES

Only eight words separate the declarations made on B2B invoices and memos by those members of the trade who have adopted the World Diamond Council’s new System of Warranties, from industry members still using the old SoW. But, while seemingly innocuous, those words are massively significant, for they greatly expand the scope of the system.

Whereas in the original declaration the seller of diamonds guaranteed that the merchandise is conflict free, “based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds,” in the new SoW the seller guarantees that the diamonds are conflict free “and confirms adherence to the WDC SoW Guidelines.”

The SoW Guidelines document, which is now an integral component of the SoW commitment, states that buyers and sellers of diamonds must observe the implementation of the KPCS, as it is expressed in the KPCS Core Document, KP Administrative Decisions and KP Guiding Documents. But it also states that buyers and sellers of diamonds understand and voluntarily implement a set of universally accepted principles on human and labor rights, AML and anticorruption measures.

More specifically, it references a set of seminal good-governance documents. What are they?

To download the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, CLICK HERE.

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Endorsed unanimously by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were the brainchild of John Ruggie, a Canadian American professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who at the time served as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning.

The document articulates 31 essential principles, outlining a state’s responsibility both to protect human rights and offer access to remedies in the event that those rights are not respected. It also addresses the business sector’s obligation to do due diligence so as to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address any negative impacts.

From the perspective of business enterprises, the document prescribes six essential processes that need to be implemented: (1) developing a human rights policy commitment, and embedding it throughout the company; (2) assessing the company’s actual and potential human rights impacts; (3) integrating findings from the assessment into the company’s decision-making and taking actions to address them; (4) tracking how effectively the company is managing to address its impacts; (5) communicating to stakeholders about how the company is addressing its impacts; and (6) taking steps to remediate any negative impacts that the company may have contributed to.

The structure prescribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights forms the basis of a number of conventions that today are widely observed and implemented in the diamond and jewelry sectors. These include the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Code of Practices, CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Blue Book and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance […]

16March 2021

WDC and RJC enter cross-membership partnership to increase knowledge-sharing and impact on lives and livelihoods throughout the jewelry supply chain


WDC and RJC enter cross-membership partnership to increase knowledge-sharing and impact on lives and livelihoods throughout the jewelry supply chain

MARCH 16, 2021

The World Diamond Council (WDC) and Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) have entered into a cross-membership partnership and signed mutual codes of conduct. The two leading diamond and jewelry industry organizations are dedicated to the adoption of responsible business practices across the supply chain, and this partnership will help increase knowledge-sharing, pilot new initiatives, and increase the positive impact they both make on the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities associated with jewelry, watches and the precious materials from which they are made.

The increased cooperation between the organizations will see an RJC official joining the WDC Kimberley Process Task Force to take part in critical discussions about the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). This includes the expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds and principles for responsible diamond sourcing, and also the worldwide adoption of WDC’s revised System of Warranties (SoW). For its part, a WDC official will join the RJC SDG Task Force, which is an action platform for the jewelry and watch industry committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both appointments will take place with immediate effect.

Over the course of the partnership, both WDC and RJC will report to their members on progress with the SoW and SDGs, and support members of the industry in applying the relevant programs and principles into their own business systems with the help of case studies, hands-on workshops and a continued dialogue with policy makers and investors.

Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council.

Elodie Daguzan, Executive Director of the World Diamond Council.

David Bouffard, Chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

“Cooperation at this level is critical to raising the level of knowledge about responsible sourcing, driving action and having a positive impact on all businesses, small and large, at every level of the diamond supply chain,” said Elodie Daguzan, WDC’s Executive Director. “Through this partnership we can do more to increase understanding of the KPCS and present a united industry front dedicated to broadening its scope through the expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds. Cooperation will also fast-track the adoption of WDC’s revised System of Warranties, creating a standard industry baseline for KPCS-compliance and commitment to fundamental human and labor rights, and anti-money laundering and anti-corruption principles. I am excited to be working closer with the team at RJC to unite the power of all our members and accelerate positive change in our industry.”

“Uniting the positive forces of RJC and WDC is a major milestone in our industry, and I am inspired by what we can achieve together, partnering to promote the fulfilment of the 17 Sustainable […]

24February 2021

WDC urges enhanced due diligence in respect to rough diamond exports believed to have originated from the Central African Republic


WDC urges enhanced due diligence in respect to rough diamond exports believed to have originated from the Central African Republic

FEBRUARY 24, 2021

In light of recent reports by the international media, observers on the ground and NGOs about political unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR), the World Diamond Council (WDC) reiterates its call to members of the diamond industry to carry out enhanced due diligence when considering the purchase of goods that are known to have originated or are suspected of having originated in the country.

Over the past several weeks, it has been reported that the CAR capital of Bangui and other major towns have come under fire from rebel fighters. The officially elected government and its allied forces are strongly fighting armed rebel groups siding with the political opposition. The situation has caused many civilians to seek refuge in other parts of the nation or neighboring countries, such as the DRC.

Due to the political unrest, and in accordance with the special operational framework that was approved in November 2019 by the Kimberley Process, the WDC urges all members of the trade to continue conducting enhanced due diligence, regarding the import of rough diamonds from the CAR and its neighboring countries. Although diamond production from conflict-affected areas in CAR represents only a very small percentage of global diamond production, diamond businesses should exercise the utmost caution.

The only rough diamonds sourced in the CAR that currently can be purchased legitimately are those that meet the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC) and are accompanied by official CAR Kimberley Process (KP) certificates. These indicate that the diamonds were mined in KP-compliant “green” zones, which are areas under secure CAR-government control that show no evidence of armed rebel group activity.

The WDC calls on the entire industry to uphold the integrity of the diamond supply chain by proactively implementing the guidelines contained in the WDC’s new System of Warranties. These include addressing risks in areas beyond those covered by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, including human and labor rights, AML and anti-corruption.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Udi Sheintal, WDC Secretary and CAR MT Representative
secretary@worlddiamondcouncil.org