For a diamond to be ethically sourced, at the very least, it should not have financed a civil war. But diamond-fueled violence often happens in countries that are not officially at war. An ethically-sourced diamond should be mined in conditions wholly free from bloodshed, regardless of the cause.
To be ethically sourced, a diamond must be mined in keeping with strict labor and environmental standards. Child labor should not be used. Workers should earn fair wages and enjoy safe, decent working conditions. Miners or mining companies must take care to avoid serious environmental harm and treat local ecosystems with respect.
The Kimberley Process, the most well-known effort to regulate the diamond trade, only attempts to keep conflict diamonds – narrowly defined as diamonds that finance rebel movements – out of the diamond supply. Regrettably, it grants “conflict free” certification to diamonds tainted by violence, child labor, extreme poverty, worker exploitation, and environmental harm.
Many retailers address ethical concerns by explaining that their diamonds are “conflict free.” However, a conflict free guarantee is usually just a guarantee that a diamond has not financed a rebel group in a war-torn country. The truth is that large numbers of diamonds marketed as conflict free are tied to abuses such as torture, rape, killings, beatings, forced labor, child labor, corruption, and environmental devastation.
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