WDC President Warns of Marketplace with Two Diamond Value Chains. With continuing resistance to reforming the Kimberley Process, Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council(WDC) warned of a marketplace with two diamond value chains during the closing session of the 2021 Intersessional Meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP). According to him, “responsibly sourced diamonds will be more in demand. They will obtain better prices in the marketplace, and buyers at jewelry stores will demand proof that they are indeed responsibly sourced before purchasing them as polished.”
In a powerful address, the WDC President questioned the readiness of certain KP Participants to meet the expectations of today’s jewelry consumers, who increasingly demand that diamonds can be verifiably shown to have been responsibly sourced and to have been handled in accordance with essential principles of human rights, environmental protection, and social justice.
He further added “The Kimberley Process has the ability to create a level playing field,” The WDC President stated. “If it meets these consumer expectations, then all-natural diamonds from all participating countries will be represented. But there is clearly resistance, and I believe it is because some of us see the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme as an enabler of trade, whilst others see it as a restrictor of trade.”
In his address, the WDC President explained the consequences of a market with two different value chains. “Some producing countries will face less demand for their goods. “Small and medium-sized enterprises will experience difficulties selling natural diamonds because they do not belong to the elite group of polishers that can guarantee that the diamonds they source and polish are responsibly sourced. That will create an unlevel playing field in the polishing centers, and threaten the livelihoods of thousands who own, are employed, or service SMEs.”
He stressed that there remains limited time to change course and was quoted “I trust that this truth will sink in before the [Kimberley Process] Plenary later this year,” he said. “There are only two choices: (1) we genuinely work together to reform the KP, addressing consumer expectations, or (2) we leave many of our friends here at the KP behind in a much smaller and concentrated diamond industry, where there are two value chains – one with consumer demand and one without.”