The World Diamond Council (WDC) has launched its upgraded System of Warranties (SoW), which is an industry-applied mechanism that links rough and polished diamonds to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) with which producers were originally associated.
Participants are also required to store copies of SoW declarations that are made and received, so that a verifiable trail is created as diamonds move through the pipeline.
The SoW was born out of the will of the WDC to strengthen and expand the KPCS and create the industry’s first self-regulation mechanism, which was borne from a will to verify the next participant in the supply chain that the diamonds involved are compliant with the KPCS, and thus can be considered “conflict free” according to KP doctrine.
The upgrade to the SoW was launched last month, which raised the bar considerably in respect of the ethical and social integrity of the diamonds being sold.
It includes a revised declaration to be added to the sales document, which not only states that the diamonds are compliant with the KPCS, but that they also meet the standards of the WDC SoW Guidelines, which require that they have been handled in accordance with universally accepted human and labour rights, and according to global anti-corruption and anti-money laundering principles.
However, the upgraded SoW now also prescribes a specific process that needs to be followed so that the revised declaration can be applied.
This includes registering on a dedicated SoW website and, once a year, completing an online self-assessment to ascertain that a producer is in compliance with the KPCS and the WDC SoW Guidelines.
WDC president Edward Asscher in a blog post on October 5 urged participants to meet the expectations of both consumers and those living in the mining communities, by expanding the scope of the KP Core Document to include the protection of universal human rights, social rights and environmental sustainability.
He, however, also declared that the diamond industry “would not wait idly by, before acting on its own”.
With the launch of the upgraded SoW, Asscher said, the industry is “sending a strong signal that [it is] ready to reform”.