Jean-Marc Lieberherr readily concedes that the industry he represents and speaks for – global diamond mining – has an image problem. “There are so many misconceptions about diamond mining,” says Lieberherr, chief executive ofﬁcer of the Belgium-based Diamond Producers Association.
“Issues from the 1990s, like conflict diamonds that funded several African civil wars, are real scars in the history of the industry.” Much has changed within the industry over the past 20 years.
In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution establishing the Kimberley Process Certiﬁcation Scheme, which aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. And by July 2013, some 54 participants from 81 countries had endorsed the Kimberley Process.
Then, in 2015, seven companies that comprise 75% of global production formed the Diamond Producers Association to set standards, improve transparency, foster collaboration between member companies and to enhance the industry’s image.
“This industry has been unfairly painted with a broad brush based on African artisanal mining,” Lieberherr says. “It’s a reality we can’t ignore.” But the industry can – and is – ﬁghting back. In early May, the DPA released the ﬁrst comprehensive report on the social and economic impact of large-scale diamond mining on local communities.
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