De Beers Group CEO, Al Cook, has written an open letter addressed to the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations expressing De Beers' support for the G7's objectives to ban Russian-origin diamonds from entering their countries. The letter underscores the importance of a collaborative, coherent, and collective approach in achieving these objectives.
De Beers acknowledges that an effective framework for identifying Russian-origin diamonds must involve the entire diamond industry. Therefore, Cook emphasizes the need for cooperation and input from all industry stakeholders, whether within or outside the G7. This collaborative approach would allow for a broader perspective and a more comprehensive solution. Key producer countries, such as Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Angola, as well as prominent cutting centers like India, are highlighted as key stakeholders who should be actively engaged in the discussions.
The letter stresses the importance of a coherent and workable framework that protects the interests of diamond-producing African countries. Cook raises concerns about the potential economic repercussions of import restrictions that may harm businesses and livelihoods within these countries. He also calls for a realistic approach concerning the capabilities of technology-based solutions, emphasizing that while technology can support the framework, it cannot entirely replace it. De Beers' blockchain system, Tracr, is cited as a technological advancement, but Cook indicates that it is not the sole solution.
Collective and Inclusive Solution
The CEO underscores the need for a collective and inclusive framework accessible to all members of the industry. It is highlighted that the framework should accommodate not only large companies like De Beers but also artisanal sectors in Africa, small enterprises in India, and independent jewelers in the United States. The presence of multiple government diamond offices in trusted countries for certifying rough diamonds is recommended to prevent bottlenecks that could hinder the industry's functioning. An inclusive approach, Cook argues, is essential to maintaining the integrity of the framework.
The G7 Diamond Protocol
In pursuit of these principles, De Beers, in collaboration with 22 diamond industry organizations via the World Diamond Council, has introduced the 'G7 Diamond Protocol' proposal. This proposal aligns with the shared goals of the G7 and the diamond industry, striving to offer an effective and practical solution.
Al Cook's open letter outlines De Beers' commitment to supporting the G7's objectives concerning the prohibition of Russian-origin diamonds. The letter underscores the importance of unity within the industry and invites cooperation between governments, industry stakeholders, and technology-based solutions to create a coherent, collective, and inclusive framework. The 'G7 Diamond Protocol' proposal, introduced through the World Diamond Council, is aimed at progressing toward these goals, ultimately aiming to strengthen the industry and meet consumer expectations regarding diamond provenance.