In a further decline of the credibility of the diamond industry's way of ensuring "conflict free" diamonds, the non-governmental organization IMPACT, based in Canada, announced its departure from the Kimberley Process certification scheme the diamond industry has much touted to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds.
“Consumers are being sold something that is not real,” said Joanne Lebert, the executive director of the NGO. The statement took place shortly after the Kimberley Process Plenary on December 9-14 of this year in Brisbane, Australia.
As a founding partner and observer of the scheme, IMPACT’s move was received a startling acknowledgement that the Kimberley Process does not much to ensure that consumers are getting diamonds from conflict free zones. IMPACT had called for a meaningful definition of "conflict diamonds" that does not only define conflict as rebel groups financing their activities to overthrow governments. That current definition does not include abuses perpetrated by the governments themselves or private security firms or any reforms to strengthen traceability and reduce illicit trade. In fact, IMPACT’s research in 2016 actually proved that despite an embargo, Central African Republic’s diamonds were entering the legitimate supply chain. That is only one example of many.
The move is not surprising and confirms what we already know: the Kimberley Process is meaningless when used by retailers who claim their diamonds are “conflict free”. IMPACT’s move out of the certification scheme suggests that any change is unlikely to emerge.
There is truly only one solution available to conscious consumers today: Aboveground diamonds created in sustainable foundries.