(Rapaport…June 12, 2000) De Beers could benefit from a consumer boycott of conflict diamonds from war-torn African countries, said the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID).
A consumer backlash could increase De Beers’ sales because it would be one of the few companies in the industry able to guarantee to consumers that it was not selling conflict diamonds.
The report says that De Beers might stand to gain the most from disruption or boycott of trade in diamonds from conflict countries because De Beers has the greatest likelihood of being able to certify the origin of its traded stones due to the high proportion of its vertical integration.
In a rejection of U.S. AID’s conclusions a De Beer’s spokesperson said, “We want to drive so-called conflict diamonds away for the benefit of everybody in the industry. We are not looking to gain any kind of commercial advantage. That would be a cynical assumption and would completely misrepresent our actions.”