World Diamond Council (WDC) president Edward Asscher has written a response to a South China Morning Post article that was in part critical of the performance of the Kimberley Process (KP).
The original article in the South China Morning Post focused on jewelers’ realization that consumers have the buying power to be able to force sustainable practices in the industry. The author alleged that since conflict diamonds entered public consciousness a decade or so ago, consumers began to question where their jewels were sourced from – and that today, those queries have become more muted, when “price dominates over responsibility.”
Asscher said that the WDC agreed that consumers should be able to purchase diamonds and be confident that by doing so, they are not perpetuating human rights abuses and that jewels are also sourced in a way that is beneficial to local communities.
He argued that through the work of the Kimberley Process system, more than 99 percent of diamonds are conflict free. He added that this constitutes $8.5 billion worth of trade in Africa, a fundamental pillar of that continent’s economy.
The WDC estimates that approximately 5 million people have access to healthcare because of diamond revenues, and that the industry directly or indirectly supports 10 million people worldwide.
Asscher pointed out that many jewelry companies belong to the Responsible Jewelry Council, the international standards organization that promotes ethical business practices throughout the jewelry supply chain, ranging from human and labor rights to social and environmental impacts.