Cecilia Gardner: “The KP is an important element in maintaining the integrity of the diamond supply chain”

Olga Patseva

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) was established in 1917, a bit less than a century ago, with a view to promote education and self-regulation in the U.S. jewelry industry.
Today, the committee acts as a legal adviser to the jewelry and diamond industry in the United States. Cecilia Gardner, President and CEO of JVC, in her interview to Rough&Polished described the current role of the committee, disclosed the reasons that prompted this agency to stay in the World Diamond Council and told about the Kimberley Process and the methods of civilized struggle to end violations of human rights.

What are the main goals of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee nowadays?

JVC is the leading trade association in the U.S. that provides guidance to jewelry professionals on the laws that pertain to their business, and assists them to comply with those laws.

Could you briefly evaluate the current state of the U.S. jewelry market as seen by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee?

Not sure what you are asking here:  everyone in the US is working hard, achieving success in the sale of their products, and addressing increasingly complex compliance challenges in the gem and jewelry business.

According to the latest news, you were considering ending the JVC’s involvement in the World Diamond Council, but finally decided to stay. Could you describe in more detail, what were the pros and cons behind this decision?

I wrote an article detailing the thought process by the JVC Board of Directors regarding our continued relationship with the WDC.  We essentially believe that staying engaged will ensure that the US perspective on important supply chain issues in the diamond industry will be addressed.

Do you think that restrictions on the sale of Zimbabwe diamonds should be tightened, and why?

In the US – there are sanctions (trade restrictions) in place that make purchase of diamonds from certain entities engaged in diamond production in Zimbabwe a violation of regulatory requirements.  JVC has no view as to whether these laws should be loosened or tightened – they need to be followed.

What is your view of the Kimberley Process and its future?

The KP is an important element in maintaining the integrity of the diamond supply chain.  We believe that will continue to be true for years to come.

Do you think its consensus principle is boon or bane in pursuing moral goals in the diamond industry?

In the context of ongoing discussions within the KP regarding the decision making process, the WDC has taken the position that the consensus based decision making method should be examined carefully, and certain decisions ought to be permitted on a majority voting basis.  The JVC agrees with this position.

Do you support the current working definition of conflict diamonds or do you think it should be changed, and if so, in what way?

The WDC has taken the position that the scope of the KP ought to be expanded to address instances of systematic violence in diamond producing or trading regions.  This could be done by changing the definition or by making other adjustments to important provisions of the KP governing documents.  The JVC agrees with this position.

In your opinion, what can the jewelry industry do better to stop human rights abuses? What will be the role of the JVC in this respect?

Staying educated and aware of the few occasions where allegations of human rights abuses impact the diamond supply chain is the obligation of all sectors of the jewelry industry.  Incorporating procedures in your business (including the Diamond Warranty Protocol) into your everyday business practices will ensure that commercial profit from such instances will be harder and harder to achieve.

What is your outlook for the jewelry and diamond industry in 2013?

With the improving economy in the United States – we are ever hopeful and optimistic!

Source Rough and Polished