RAPAPORT… U.S. jewelry trade organizations have launched the Diamond Source Warranty Protocol aiming to provide greater assurance and control throughout the diamond pipeline, according to them. The protocol was developed by Jewelers of America (JA), the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA), the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) along with other jewelry associations and companies.
“There is increased pressure in certain markets, including the United States – from the public, human rights groups and government – to bring greater transparency and accountability to the supply chains of jewelry and other products,” said Matthew A. Runci, JA’s president. “The new Diamond Source Warranty Protocol is designed to be an effective tool to help businesses manage these issues and challenges in the context of their relationships with business partners and stakeholders.”
The groups explained that the protocol will enable retailers and their suppliers to assure their vendors that rough or polished diamonds used in their products do not originate from questionable sources – referred to in the protocol as ”subject sources.” Each company that adopts the protocol determines what makes a source a subject source based on a number of factors including protection of consumer confidence, concern over negative media attention, human rights abuses, and government action that bans or limits the use of products from a particular country or person such as national or international sanctions.
The protocol is not meant for consumers, though retailers who attain protocol warranties can choose to use them as a basis for providing further assurance to their customers. The document will also work alongside the Kimberley Process and industry participants can choose to incorporate the protocol into their contractual arrangements with vendors.
Ronald Friedman, DMIA’s president, noted that while the Kimberley Process has established its effectiveness in dealing with surrounding conflict diamonds, it is unreasonable to expect it to be a solution for all issues and challenges throughout the diamond supply chain.
“As an industry, we share the legitimate concerns of consumers and governments and have a responsibility to work closely with them to develop solutions that are practical,” he said. “While governments participating in the Kimberley Process continue to work to improve it, businesses that feel the need for additional assurance can now use the Diamond Source Warranty Protocol and begin to work with their suppliers to obtain that assurance.”
Work on the protocol began in 2011 with several retailers providing input in the belief that the industry must work together to create practical approaches to bring about greater transparency and accountability in the diamond jewelry supply chain. U.K.-based consultancy Sustainable & Responsible Solutions Ltd. also contributed to the development of the protocol.
In August 2012, key retailers began discussions with select suppliers about using the protocol in order to confirm its feasibility. Both retailers and suppliers recognized that the protocol can be a key tool toward continuous improvement of supply chain practices.