A lot has changed in the world of luxury in the last 3 years. Luxury consumers want to know what kind of impact their purchase might have on the socio-economic and environmental aspects of the society. Climate Change is not a catch-phrase that luxury brands want to engage in – it is a long term problem to which many of them are seeking solutions for and wanting to do their bit, so that the world is a better place to live in. To have Sustainability Goals and spark a conversation about the same has become increasingly important, and perhaps the issue has been accelerated because of the pandemic, especially for youngsters.
De Beers has always been a master at understanding the current social and cultural tenor and using that to better engage with its audience right from its “A Diamond is Forever” days. The rebranding of Forevermark to De Beers Forevermark (not yet in India) and the twelve ambitious sustainability goals to become completely carbon-neutral by 2030 have also been strategically thrown into the brand’s marketing mix at a time when consumers strongly feel that a brand is only as good as its actions. “Consumers want to know about the diamond on their finger. They associate De Beers with positive impact, which is why we wanted Forevermark to be closely linked with De Beers,” said Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice-President, Consumer Markets, De Beers Jewellers and Chairman, Forevermark.
"The impact a purchase might have on the society and environment is especially important for luxury goods as they are not essential. At De Beers we want to get ahead of this. All of these actions are not isolated. Consumer demand is strong, but to keep it stronger, we felt the need to build and champion the sustainability program" Stephen Lussier
In the U.S. consumers are buying diamond jewellery with full vigour and growth has been in double digits. Jewellery as we all already know has been one of the stronger performing categories in the luxury segment. De Beers did a study on why diamonds have stayed relevant and important given the current scenario and two key factors were found – because of the psychological impact of lockdown and a health crisis, people tend to step back and reflect on what is important to them. They want to seize the moment to say that they care, to the people who they love, and the modality they have been using to express their love has been diamonds. Secondly, there has been a big boom in self-purchase. Women believe that they have braved a pandemic and endured a lockdown, now they can reward themselves with something special, like a piece of diamond jewellery. Ear studs and solitaire necklaces have been doing extremely well for this very reason. In India too, the demand for Forevermark Diamonds has been strong. “Average point size has gone up from 18 points to 25 points. Our exclusive stores are seeing more traction,” said Sachin Jain, Managing Director, Forevermark India.
There is plenty of desire to buy jewellery but consumers still want to know how the diamonds they buy are impacting the society at large. “The impact a purchase might have on the society and environment is especially important for luxury goods as they are not essential. At De Beers we want to get ahead of this. All of these actions are not isolated. Consumer demand is strong, but to keep it stronger, we felt the need to build and champion the sustainability program,” added Lussier.
The De Beers Code of Origin ensures that all diamonds mined are natural and conflict free with a customised code. The program though scalable has to be executed properly first. “We are still testing waters, ensuring that we are thorough before we scale. And this is a program for the diamond industry at large, not just our partners,” said Jain.
One cannot deny the obvious fact that all of these measures are being put into practice at a time when lab-grown diamonds are also witnessing a promising demand. “Perhaps it is heightened because of lab-grown diamonds, but it is not completely accurate that lab-grown diamonds are sustainable. A vast majority of lab-grown diamonds are not made from recyclable energy. And so, we have a greater story to tell through natural diamonds," quipped Lussier.