The World Diamond Council (WDC) has repeated its call for reforms to the Kimberley Process (KP), warning that failure to do so could lead to a “two-tiered” industry.
Companies that fall below consumers’ expectations on responsible sourcing will lose market share, putting many people out of business, WDC president Edward Asscher told the annual KP plenary on Monday.
Asscher urged KP members to agree to an expanded definition of conflict diamonds — a long-running topic of controversy. While there have been some good developments within the KP, he said, these have not been enough to ensure consumer confidence.
“Why do we persistently fail to make substantive progress on expanding the definition of conflict diamonds — a move that almost all of us understand is necessary?” he asked. “Will we once again discuss the subject, hinting that change is within reach, but then withdrawing at the last moment, leaving us no closer to a solution [than] we were beforehand?”
At present, the KP designates conflict diamonds as rough that a rebel group uses to finance conflict. Delegates have been discussing changes to the wording for years, as the limited definition excludes violence by ruling authorities. The WDC, which represents the diamond trade at the KP, has been leading the campaign for change.
Diamonds have the potential to “speak to the aspirations of this new generation” because of their positive impact on communities, or, alternatively, to “be rejected as a nonessential luxury item associated with violence and suffering,” Asscher added. “We have the ability to decide that choice, but we will do so only through actions and not empty words.”
The plenary took place in hybrid form in Moscow, with a mixture of online and in-person events. It began on Monday and ends Friday. diamonds.net