Professional Jeweler Archive: WDC Wants Annual Reports for Kimberley Compliance

July 2004


WDC Wants Annual Reports for Kimberley Compliance

Plans come in response to pressure from human rights group

The World Diamond Council will recommend all its members submit an annual report detailing how measures have been implemented to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds in the world’s jewelry stores. “We proposed for consideration an annual reporting mechanism by all members, patterned on the system currently in place for governments,” Matthew Runci, WDC executive director, told the Financial Times of London. “We will have discussions on the merits of this idea, but I am sure there will be a positive response from members.”

The proposal, revealed at the close of WDC’s annual meeting in Dubai in March, is a response to added pressure on the diamond and jewelry industry in the wake of a report by Global Witness, the human rights organization. The organization surveyed a number of luxury jewelers, jewelry chains and other retailers in the U.S. and found most did not appear to have policies in place demanding warranties from suppliers that their diamonds are conflict-free. However, Zale Corp., Sterling Jewelers and Tiffany & Co. were found to have policies in place.

Global Witness accused WDC of not doing enough to implement the follow-up system of warranties the industry agreed to put in place under the Kimberley Process, a United Nations-backed program to halt illicit diamond trading by compelling all trading and producing countries to issue a certificate of origin for every rough diamond, guaranteeing none come from conflict zones.

WDC accepted Global Witness’ criticism, but strongly rejected the accusation that the industry’s commitment to the Kimberley Process is “not much more than a public-relations maneuver with little credibility behind it.”

WDC, representing all areas of the industry from mining to retail, has been a driving force in the Kimberley Process.

In other news from WDC’s annual meeting, Tim Martin, chairman of the Kimberley Process, said half of the 61 Kimberley member countries have already put themselves forward for a peer review by members of the Kimberley Process. Nineteen, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville, where problems implementing the Kimberley Process have been cited, will be inspected in the next year.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications