Ethical Diamonds and Diamond Jewellery
WE CAN ALL DO OUR PART
At Australian Diamond Network, you can be confident that we take our responsibility to improving the diamond industry very seriously.
Many commentators have promoted the idea that companies can ‘do well by doing good’.
Due to advances in technology and communication, we have become more conscious of the world around us; as consumers, but mainly as human beings. And we each have our own expectations of how we expect a company to behave, and how we expect companies to conform to ethical standards. In general, this means without harm to or exploitation of humans, animals or the natural environment.
As a consumer, your idea of what the definition of ethical is will most likely be affected by your own beliefs, customs and values. In our opinion, ethical consumerism involves people having the knowledge of how the products they purchase are made and sold. We believe that there are many people that would try to be more ethical consumers, once they were informed of the things that go on in the world.
However, to think that people are guided in their purchasing decisions by broad ethical or moral concerns, and that this will change the world through what they buy, therefore sanctioning companies to save the world through their actions, is hopelessly naïve. But that doesn’t mean organisations and consumers alike can’t view their role in the world through ethical glasses.
People are influenced by issues other than price and product; in fact we may care about a variety of issues that form part of our broad ethical view, such as third world debt, child labour, pollution, animal welfare and so on. But all too often, survey radicals can turn into economic conservatives at the checkout when compared against issues that are more prominent, immediate and relevant: children’s schooling, healthcare, mortgage, pricing – even simply spending less time at the checkout counter.
Corporate social responsibility, as it is traditionally defined, implies that there is a responsibility at the level of the corporation as a whole. But the company is not a living thing, it is simply an entity that allows humans to interact. It is the people who have social preferences and responsibilities – as individual customers, employees, owners, investors and executives.
It may be more helpful to think of ourselves as having a ‘corporate and consumer social responsibility’ rather than being the perfect ‘ethical corporation or consumer’ because it recognises that our purchasing decisions are influenced by many factors, and that the social component of a product is just one.
AFFLUENCE AND EDUCATION THEN BECOME PREREQUISITES FOR MAKING ETHICAL CHOICES
THE KIMBERLY PROCESS
The international diamond industry has already taken steps to respond, such as the adoption by the World Diamond Congress in 2000, of a resolution which increases the diamond industry's ability to block conflict diamonds from reaching market. Other efforts include a worldwide consultation process of Governments, industry and civil society, referred to as the Kimberly Process that was devised as a response to the problem of conflict diamonds.
Over seventy governments are taking part in the process and are required to certify that diamond shipments through their countries are conflict-free, and they are required to set up diamond control systems to ensure this is true. Governments must pass national laws implementing the Kimberley Process, and they can only trade with other participants in the process.
From The Mine To Our Customers Finger
Other measures have included the standardisation of a well-structured 'Certificate Of Origin' among diamond exporting countries, more transparency and better auditing and monitoring are some of the ways to ensure that only legitimate diamonds from government controlled areas reach the market.
The diamond industry has also agreed to police itself to support the Kimberley Process by tracking diamonds from mines all the way to retail stores – this is generally referred to as the “System Of Warranties” or the “system of self-regulation.” Every company dealing in diamonds should have a policy in place to ensure their diamonds are conflict free.
We Can All Still Do More To
Prevent The Trade Of Conflict Diamonds
Unfortunately, the retail sector in particular fails to provide sufficient assurance to consumers that the diamonds they sell are conflict free. Each organisation should put credible, meaningful systems in place to combat conflict diamonds (responsible sourcing policies, third party auditing measures, etc.).
Be sure to ask appropriate questions if you have concerns about a potential organisation you are looking to purchase your diamonds or diamond jewellery from. Beware of companies that put out glossy brochures proclaiming their extensive environmental, social or ethical activities...they are not necessarily being socially responsible – they may simply be engaging in public relations.
If they can’t answer a few basic questions to assure you that their policies are more than just rhetoric, shop somewhere else and tell them why.
"AT AUSTRALIAN DIAMOND NETWORK, WE BELIEVE THAT WE SHARE A ROLE WITH OUR CUSTOMERS IN OUR OBLIGATIONS TOWARD SOCIAL ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND YOU CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT WE TAKE OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO IMPROVING THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY VERY SERIOUSLY."
Wade Burbidge - Director
Australian Diamond Network