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Jan 22, 2024
Is the Diamond Kimberley Process reliable or a flop?

People all over the world are starting to wake up to the devastating impact of climate change and the pressing need for us to change our ways to transition into a more sustainable and moral future. They are also, correctly so asking the pointed question of who or what is really to blame for this ramped-up deterioration? The answer, unsurprising to the informed, is almost always corporate and industrial greed. People in power will always exploit the atmosphere of the plant, its ecosystem and finally most of all the poorest for a profit. Therefore these powerful people, and organizations to which they belong are fundamentally opposite to this drive towards ethics and sustainability which can potentially put at risk their margins.


It is but only natural, as they begin to feel more and more vocal pressure from the public, the participating units will try to hide and divert their functioning instead of actually reforming themselves. There can be no clearer example of this than that of the diamond mining industry and greedy opportunists. Those have been proven by many intrepid journalists and good-hearted NGOs to directly cause unprecedented human and ecological destruction. Look no further than “Blood Diamonds”. This is where the majority of the diamonds can only be found in conflict-ridden regions with scarce rule of law and almost always controlled by armed militias or paramilitaries who opt to use slave labour in the pursuit of digging up diamonds. Subsequently, once these ‘Conflict diamonds’ are sold in the global market, they become a lifeline to countless corrupt and morally bankrupt companies, warlords, politicians, and businessmen unwilling to comply with the drive towards responsibility and substantiality by the consumers and governments around the world. They are fiercely opposed to witness their profit from ‘Blood Diamonds’ dry up. 




There are Blood Diamonds that are conflict free” - this is what the Kimberly Process Assessment Scheme, established to protect the interests of the mined Diamond industry, states. The Kimberley Process brags that they disrupt the proliferation of conflict diamonds worldwide. They are an association of rough diamond or freshly mined diamond suppliers who banded to protect ‘legitimate trade’ in rough diamonds. However, just like all the other many preceding attempts by the mined diamond industry, ‘The Kimberley Process’ in practice is simply a glorified marketing campaign trying to fool the responsible customers into buying ‘Blood Diamonds’  by making them sustainably and ethically sourced.

To understand why ‘The Kimberley Process’ is so dangerous and counterproductive we have to start with the organization itself. Taken directly from their website: “The KP is not, strictly speaking, an international organisation: it has no permanent offices or permanent staff. It relies on the contributions – under the principle of ‘burden-sharing’ – of participants, supported by industry and civil society observers. Neither can the KP be considered as an international agreement from a legal perspective, as it is implemented through the national legislations of its participants.” In simple words, they are a loosely held organization with no office or any full-time employees. They only answer to themselves since there aren't regulated by any certification boards, regulatory government, NGOs or even independent auditors.



The creation of 'The Kimberley Process' illustrates much about the intentions of the diamond mining industry. A group of diamond miners and distributors united to form a coalition, creating a convincing sounding name to persuade customers their rough diamonds are not associated with conflict. Their motivation developed from concerns over their revenue being threatened by the stigma of 'Blood Diamonds'. However, their method lacked genuine commitment to genuine measures and transparency, by carefully opting out of independent verifications and inspections. This inaction speaks volumes, as a coalition where members can potentially mix 'Blood Diamonds' with others is fundamentally unaccountable and unreliable.




A major concern is the almost comical ease of obtaining certification under 'The Kimberley Process'. Essentially, when a supplier trades rough diamonds, they issue a certificate of origin, claiming observance to the Kimberley standards and asserting the diamonds are conflict-free. But who validates these certificates? They do it themselves, of course! This self-certification by those dealing in 'Blood Diamonds', who then trade with other self-certifying suppliers within the Kimberley network, creates a closed loop of guaranteed corruption and mutual protection. This shields them from external scrutiny and regulatory oversight, rendering the entire process a farce that disadvantages both consumers and the environment.




It's impossible to definitively trace 'Blood Diamonds' back to their original source with any real confidence. Suppliers have long been blending diamonds from conflict zones with those from regulated sources. This is easily possible because a diamond from one location looks exactly the same as one from another, just as with any stone or gem. 'The Kimberley Process', or any analogous approach, will always fail to address and correct the inherent issues, as suppliers can easily self-certify, thereby obscuring the harsh truth of 'Blood Diamonds' for their own gain, at the cost of others and the planet.


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