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Star Rays Outlines Plan to Be Carbon-Neutral

Feb 16, 2020 5:08 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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 Star Rays revealed its intention to be the first Indian diamond company to become carbon-neutral, arguing that greener credentials will help attract consumers to the product.

The Mumbai-based manufacturer aims to reduce travel, produce less plastic waste, and clean up its energy use, and is taking advice from a consultancy firm specializing in the area.

“Singlehandedly we can’t change the whole image of the diamond industry, but we want more people to be on board,” said Rahul Jauhari, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Star Rays.

Being carbon-neutral means having no net contribution of carbon to the atmosphere, and can be achieved by reducing one’s own emissions while balancing them with offsets. Star Rays is assessing how it can cut down on airline flights through video conferencing and clumping overseas visits together, Jauhari explained. Executives will avoid flying business class unless absolutely necessary, as it accounts for more emissions per passenger than economy.

The company, a De Beers sightholder, is planning to print less, recycle more, cut down on single-use plastics, and encourage employees to switch off their computers and lights when they’re away from their workspace. It’s also exploring renewable-energy sources, though Jauhari admitted this would be difficult to implement.

The firm aims to maximize the lifespan of electronic equipment rather than replacing items unnecessarily early. It’s also monitoring workers’ commutes to ensure they’re taking public transportation or other more environmentally friendly options. It hasn’t set a deadline by which it plans to achieve its target.

“We are committed to reducing carbon emissions at every step [of] our business and personal life,” said Jitesh Shah, a partner at the company.

The only other diamond manufacturer known to be carbon-neutral is Canada-headquartered HRA Group, said Moya McKeown, an environmental consultant at Spain-based Carbon Experts. The organization is advising around 12 diamond manufacturers on emissions reduction, including Star Rays, she added.

“The industry as a whole is very conservative and needs to be educated in the value of having a strong environmental policy to meet the demands of consumers and to protect the industry for future generations,” McKeown noted.

Achieving carbon-neutrality starts with robust accounting of emissions, followed by a strategy to reduce them as much as possible, McKeown pointed out. Only after that will a company offset the remainder. The whole process can take different amounts of time, depending on the company’s situation, she asserted.

Offsets are ways of reaching a zero net carbon footprint by investing in projects that reduce emissions elsewhere in the world. That may include planting trees or funding clean energy.

“Carbon-neutrality is just one of a number of initiatives Star Rays has adopted to ensure that our clients can take pride in purchasing natural diamonds manufactured by an environmentally and socially conscious company,” Jauhari said. The company also participates in a program by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) that helps companies measure and reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.

Danish jewelry retailer Pandora recently vowed to achieve zero net emissions by 2025 and outlined a plan to prune the environmental impact of its supply chain as well. Meanwhile, De Beers has touted the idea of storing carbon emissions inside kimberlite as a means of enabling carbon-neutral mining, and has been testing the technique at its Gahcho Kué deposit in Canada.

Image: Inside the Star Rays cutting factory in Surat, India. (Star Rays)
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Tags: carbon-neutral, CIBJO, climate change, De Beers, environment, Gahcho Kué, India, Jitesh Shah, Joshua Freedman, Moya McKeown, Pandora, Rahul Jauhari, Star Rays, World Jewellery Confederation
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