The Future: Fair Trade Diamonds

Every day, more than a million diamond diggers in Africa endure dangerous and unfair working conditions. Many diggers earn less than $1 a day, which is not enough to feed their families or live in dignity. The diamond mining regions of West Africa remain among the poorest in their respective countries, despite their extraordinary natural resources.

Regrettably, attempts to regulate the diamond industry, such as the Kimberley Process, Fair Trade Diamondshave been ineffective at raising living standards. But one promising approach is still in its very early stages: a fair trade diamond standard. Brilliant Earth believes that establishing a fair trade diamond certification system is essential to promoting economic justice in diamond mining communities.

The Fair Trade Model

Fair trade certification is an innovative approach to reducing poverty in developing countries. Fair trade products are produced by local farmers and workers following strict labor and environmental guidelines. These products receive fair trade certification, and are then sold directly to buyers around the world for a fair price. By connecting responsible local producers with international buyers, Consumers can help
diggers earn a fair
price by demanding
a fair trade diamond
certification system.
the fair trade model uses market principles to expand local economic opportunity.

Presently there is no certification system for fair trade diamonds. However, fair trade standards have been successfully created for hundreds of other products including coffee, chocolate, and tea. These certification systems have lifted thousands of producers out of abject poverty, increased wages three to five fold, and eliminated environmentally harmful practices.

Making A Difference With Fair Trade Diamonds

We believe that a fair trade diamond certification system is fundamental to reducing labor abuses and environmental harm in the diamond industry. A fair trade diamond standard could help organize diggers into cooperatives, cut out unethical middlemen, and allow diamond diggers to earn their fair share of the profits. Fair trade diamonds could also transform diamond mining communities Fair Trade DiamondsFair Trade Diamonds by generating funds to invest in basic necessities such as clean water, medical care, and education.

With the help of Fairtrade International, the coordinating organization for the fair trade movement, a fair trade diamond standard is in the early stages of development. We are among the stakeholders actively involved in discussions. As we work to make fair trade diamonds a reality, we are encouraged by the fact that fair trade labels are being adopted in other areas of the jewelry industry. In 2010, a promising new certification system was launched for fair trade gold. With time, we are optimistic that a fair trade diamond label will also be launched. Our co-CEO Beth Gerstein also traveled to Sierra Leone to visit a group of diamond mines working toward the Diamond Development Initiative Maendeleo Diamond Standards™. Maendeleo Diamonds are diamonds that are artisanally mined safely with respect for human rights using practices that promote environmental responsibility. The mines could soon offer consumers the world’s first fair trade diamonds.

Brilliant Earth’s non-profit fund also supports efforts to promote economic fairness for diamond diggers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Our donation has helped to fund two community centers in eastern Congo where diamond diggers can learn about their rights and join together to increase their bargaining power. By supporting these community centers, we are empowering diamond diggers in the DRC to build a better future for themselves.

Our Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds

We offer our customers another way to promote change in the diamond industry: our broad selection of beyond conflict free diamonds go beyond the current industry standard and originate from mines that follow strict labor, trade, and environmental standards. Countries of origin include Canada, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Russia.

 

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