D.E.F hosts ‘Diamonds for GOOD’ panel discussion

The initiative highlights the positive contribution of the diamond sector towards social welfare
D.E.F hosts ‘Diamonds for GOOD’ panel discussion

The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) had organised a panel discussion to highlight the good impact of diamond mining towards social welfare. There is an awareness that today’s jewellers need to inform consumers about diamonds being conflict free and that they benefit in more ways than just as lifestyle symbols.

The discussion entitled ‘Diamonds for GOOD: What Your Customers WANT to Know And What You NEED to Know’ was held on June 2 at the JCK Show. It brought a focus to the positive impact that diamonds—and diamond-funded education—is having in Africa. DEF’s mission is to fund education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations.

The discussion was moderated by JCK senior editor Rob Bates, and comprised of a panel of leaders from the diamond, retail, and philanthropy sectors. A highlight presentation was delivered by Congolese born Joseph Munyambanza, a graduate of the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of DEF’s three beneficiary schools. Phyllis Bergman, president of the Diamond Empowerment Fund and CEO of New York-based Mercury Ring Co., presented the opening remarks. In addition to Munyambanza, panelists included:

- Varda Shine, CEO of the Diamond Trading Company, who highlighted the social and economic growth of the nation of Botswana which was directly benefited due to the diamond industry

- Dr. Benjamin Chavis, senior strategic advisor for the Diamond Empowerment Fund, who showed how diamonds are used to educate, empower, and transform an entire community

-Cecilia Gardner, CEO and general counsel of the JVC and general counsel of the World Diamond Council, stated that the current U.S. chairmanship of the Kimberley Process is bringing an added emphasis on development and an added level of credibility including broadening the meaning of “conflict” to be one in line with international human rights law.

- David Bouffard, vice president of public relations for Sterling Jewelers, discussed the need to bring the “diamonds for good” story to the counter. Bouffard says Sterling believes there should be more collaborative effort in product development through retailers, manufacturers and D.E.F where the common goal is to maintain consumer confidence in diamonds and leverage the “Diamonds for Good” message.

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