The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) seeks public comment on its draft standards for the Development Diamonds™ ethical certification project until July 31, 2012. The Development Diamond Standards™ (DDS) project is a collaborative effort with support from civil society organizations, governments and industry. It will help ensure that more than 1.5 million artisanal and small-scale diamond miners in Africa and South America, who produce an estimated 15 percent of global gem diamonds and constitute the most vulnerable part of the jewelry supply chain, become a part of broader efforts to promote responsible business practices.
Historically, this sector has been the most affected by adverse social and environmental impact. Until now, most responsible practices certification schemes have been unable to cover artisanal and small-scale mining, because the miners largely operate informally and cannot realistically access standards designed primarily for formal entities. The Development Diamond Standards will ensure that artisanal diamond miners have achievable, realistic, and rigorous standards for their special needs. Ultimately, however, the goal is to integrate various initiatives so that all segments of the industry are covered by credible, independently verifiable ethical standards. This collaborative approach will help ensure cohesion and clarity for consumers.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation provided major support for the DDS project since its inception. Additional funding has been received from Brilliant Earth, Cartier International, Germany and the JCK Industry Fund. As one of DDI’s key projects, the Development Diamond Standards™ also build upon the general support provided to DDI by individual jewelry consumers, the public, industry members in Europe and in North America, civil society and governments.
“At this stage, the main goal is to demonstrate proof-of-concept by piloting the Development Diamond Standards™ on a small scale—and then tracing the diamonds produced from the mining site through to the retail end of the market,” said Ian Smillie, the chair of DDI’s board. “This is a very complex process and a lot of work still needs to be done, but the benefits to some of the world’s poorest people could be enormous.”
The standards are now being field tested in Sierra Leone, with planned expansion to other countries. The goal is to refine the draft standards by testing their substantive provisions in environments that reflect actual conditions on the ground, with independent third-party verification and a supply chain traceability process from mine-to-market that is credible and practical for the diamond and jewelry industry as well.
Dorothée Gizenga, the executive director of DDI, said, “Over the development of this project, we’ve stressed the importance of a standards system that is credible, achievable by artisanal diamond miners, and viable for downstream actors in the global diamond pipeline as well. This means that the input we receive from the DDS consultation will complement the feedback DDI is getting from the practical application and testing of the standards on the ground.”
To download the draft standards document, please visit: