On Tuesday, March 16, the Responsible Jewellery Council and the World Diamond Council announced their cross-membership partnership. A new and innovative collaboration project, whereby the two leading diamond and jewelry industry organizations are joining forces to further the development of more responsible and ethical business practices throughout our industry’s value chain.
Elodie Daguzan, Executive Director of the WDC, gave Rubel & Ménasché an exclusive interview to help us better understand the merits, necessity and objectives of this partnership.
Rubel & Ménasché: Why are you creating this affiliation, or more precisely this “mutual-membership partnership”, and what exactly is it?
Elodie Daguzan: Quite simply, mutual-membership means that the Responsible Jewellery Council is now officially a member of the World Diamond Council and, for the first time, the WDC is a member of another industry association, the RJC. The arrangement has been formally approved by our respective boards of directors.
The RJC is a jewellery industry association that has developed a code of responsible business standards, which companies can be certified against after undergoing a third party audit. It currently has about 1,300 members, including small businesses and larger players.
The WDC is the diamond and jewelry industry’s voice in the Kimberley Process, and is charged with representing its opinion and interests in the tripartite forum, as well as preserving integrity of the diamond supply chain through the so called “industry self-regulation”.
Both RJC and WDC are comprised of members active along the entire value chain, from mine to retail jeweler.
The timing of the start partnership between our two entities is just right. RJC recently made a very strong commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. For our part, WDC is currently finalizing the revised version of our System of Warranties (SoW), which is a global industry self-regulation mechanism that supports the diamond supply chain by extending the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme through the rough diamond, polished and diamond jewelry sectors, and through the use of a self-assessment process supports responsible sourcing practices. Now in its test phase, the revised SoW references universal responsible business conventions, covering human and labor right, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
This is the start of cooperative effort involving international industry organizations to elevate ethical and responsible practices in our industry.
Together, the RJC and the WDC are committed to increasing awareness, knowledge and skills among our industry members, to teach our members about the Kimberley Process, and to adhere to national regulations implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Hand in hand, RJC will be able to support us in explaining and facilitating the adoption of the new WDC System of Warranties.
How will this work?
Through its Executive Director, Iris Van der Veken, the RJC is now an active member of the Kimberley Process Task Force, and will chair one of the KP working subgroups. In a broader context, RJC through its expertise will support WDC in reopening the discussion on the extension of the definition of conflict diamonds…
From our side, I as the Executive Director of the WDC, have recently been elected to the RJC’s SDG Task Force, which will be launched shortly. I am also taking part in a working group on SDG 5, Gender Equality.
Our work will consist of finding concrete solutions to ensure equal access to opportunities for both women and men. We will address this on a continent-by-continent basis in the different jewelry value chains, and taking into account the different segments that exist in our industry –diamonds, colored stones, precious metals, etc.
Is this a challenge for the future?
The collaboration between the WDC and the RJC provides increased opportunity to better explain and promote our respective mandates and visions, and to expand our networks, build new inclusive partnerships. Each of us is convinced of the crucial importance of the other, and is committed to cooperating for the good of our industry.
Let me be clear. We are already a well regulated industry. Indeed, an organization like the Kimberley Process is unique. It is the backbone of our trade, facilitating the basis for each and every diamond transaction.
I hope that the collaboration between the RJC and the WDC is just the beginning of something bigger. The WDC hopes that NGOs will agree to work with us to promote ethical and responsible practices. We would like everyone in the diamond industry, regardless of the size of their business, to understand the importance of joining the WDC, as he or she did with the RJC!
We are firmly committed to continuous improvement for all industry players and want to help people understand our commitment to having diamonds make a positive social and economic impact on the lives and livelihoods of all our industry’s stakeholders.
Source Rubel & Ménasché