October 21, 2022– It gives me a lot of pleasure to address the prestigious membership of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association for the first time. I cannot say that I have yet had the chance to meet everyone, but I know your President very well. Ronnie VanderLinden and I have had the pleasure of working together over the two and half years since becoming Executive Director of the World Diamond Council, where he serves as the longtime Treasurer of the organization.
For the past 20 years, the WDC has been representing the industry’s interests within the Kimberley Process (KP) with the explicit mandate to protect the integrity of the entire natural diamond supply chain. To ensure that the KP’s action goes beyond rough diamonds, the WDC developed the industry’s first self-regulation mechanism, the System of Warranties, thereby extending the conflict-free origin provided by a KP certificate to the jewelry retailer.
About a year ago, on September 21, 2021, we launched the revised System of Warranties (SoW). The upgraded SoW now references universally accepted principles concerning human and labor rights, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering, enabling the industry to meet today’s responsible practices and due diligence requirements. A two-step process is required to implement it successfully. First, one must complete the self-assessment online via a dedicated website . Second, one must apply the updated warranty statement on all memos and invoices. It is a process that needs to be repeated annually.
And I know what you will tell me! ‘This is another unwarranted administrative burden on your already busy schedules as business owners while you are doing your best to ensure profitability in a market that knows more lows than highs.’
I understand the sentiment. Therefore, it is important to remember that beyond the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which applies exclusively to the rough diamond trade, the SoW is the only all-industry mechanism. It was designed by the industry, for the industry, and is free of charge. It took years to develop this mechanism and ensure it serves all small and medium-sized enterprises in our industry, not only the larger players.
In case other industry organizations – such as RJC or other corporations – are already auditing your operations, the WDC has built a bridge with them through an alignment exercise. Once you comply with them, you are automatically considered compliant with the SoW. All you need do is register on the dedicated SoW website.
It is true, there is a transition period to implement the revised SoW: three years for the sale of rough diamonds and five years for the sale of polished diamonds, starting from the launch date in September 2021. Nevertheless, the clock is ticking. But there is no reason to wait until the last minute, especially when the consumers’ perception of our industry’s reputation and product desirability is concerned. Time runs fast when you need to compete with other luxury experiences, travel, and even laboratory-grown diamonds.
That is why my call to action to you, captains of our industry, is clear: show leadership and start implementing the revised WDC SoW now.
My team and I are here to support you. As I have said previously during numerous webinars, we remain available to schedule a Zoom and provide you with the help that you might require.
Please feel free to reach out anytime at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org