The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established in 2003 in an attempt to end the trade of conflict diamonds and to ensure that all rough diamonds are only traded between member countries, accompanied by a government-issued Kimberley Process certificate. It’s a voluntary and self-policing international certification system, pledging not to import or export rough diamonds tainted by conflict.
In particular, the cutting and polishing factories which can allow conflict or illicit diamonds to enter legitimate channels of trade.
In a nutshell, the goal of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is to regulate the diamond trade, tracing diamonds from mine to market through a clear and documented chain of custody.
Global Witness and other independent Non Government Organisations have reported what they consider to be woefully inadequate regulations in the diamond industry.
Business as Usual
The Kimberley Process was set up to stop the trade in conflict diamonds but it still isn’t strong enough to achieve its aim.
Kimberley has become an excellent marketing scheme that provides great cover for jewellers who simply want to continue to do business as usual.
Consumer are often guaranteed that they are purchasing an ethical or fair trade diamond, Kimberley Process Certified and therfore produced in accordance with ethical standards.
To brand Kimberley with an ethical code of conduct and/or 'fair trade' is both inaccurate and deeply undermining for those who are attempting to purchase the illusive, true, fair trade diamond.
It is even used to undermine legitimate attempts to raise the standards.
Any jeweller who solely relies on the Kimberley Process to market themselves as ethical have not done their homework; it’s a sad reflection of the apathy prevalent in the jewellery industry.
“Despite widespread acknowledgment in the industry of their existence, these stones have been smuggled into other regions and are now indistinguishable from the rest of the supply”.
Diamond Identification: Mission Impossible?
However, the greatest drawback to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is the lack of enforcement or regulation. Any claim that the Kimberley Process guarantees the consumer that they’re purchasing a clean diamond cannot be verified.
More diamond-fuelled wars could happen in the future unless the Kimberley Process strengthens government controls and the diamond industry cleans up its act. Meanwhile, violent groups across the world continue to exploit the loose controls of the Kimberley Process to traffic illicit diamonds for profit.
"Given that diamonds have done so much damage in the past and have the potential to do so again in the future, the diamond industry must take concerted action against illicit diamond trading networks. Failure to face up to this problem will result in the continued use of diamonds by terrorists, rebel groups, and those involved in organised crime. The industry’s failure to systematically adopt strong systems puts the legitimate industry at risk of facing a consumer backlash. Governments must require that the diamond industry put meaningful systems in place to stop conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade”.