Impact, a Canada-based non-profit organization, is leaving the Kimberley Process (KP), claiming the scheme is ineffective in policing the diamond supply chain, the group said Thursday.
Impact, formerly Partnership Africa Canada, made the announcement at the end of the KP plenary event, which took place in Brisbane, Australia, from December 9 to 14.
The organization has been pushing for major reforms to the KP, arguing that “lax trading practices” have allowed conflict diamonds to enter the market, it said. It has also been seeking an expanded definition of “conflict diamond” that includes abuses by governments and private security firms, rather than just by rebels trying to overthrow national leaders.
“The internal controls that governments conform to do not provide the evidence of traceability and due diligence needed to ensure a clean, conflict-free and legal diamond supply chain,” said Joanne Lebert, Impact’s executive director (pictured). “Consumers have been given a false confidence about where their diamonds come from.”
The World Diamond Council (WDC), which represents the industry at the KP, was “saddened” by Impact’s exit from the scheme, it said.
“We will miss their individual contributions,” said WDC acting president Stéphane Fischler. “However, we welcome the fact that Impact will continue engaging with industry on our common goal to protect the integrity of the diamond value chain.”
Participants at the KP plenary discussed expanding the definition of conflict diamonds, the WDC said in its Thursday statement. All those taking part in the KP “must do what is necessary” to widen the scope of the term, thereby ensuring consumer confidence in diamonds, the council added.
Impact will still collaborate with KP members that “genuinely seek to end the trade of conflict and illicit diamonds,” the non-profit noted.