Ethically sourced, conflict-free diamonds is a term commonly used when shopping for the sparkly hard rock.
Conflict-free diamonds emerged in the 90s when African rebel groups started taking highly valued mining land.
This resulted in violent conflicts with the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, to name a few. These rebel groups were funded by selling rough diamonds, stones yet to be polished.
Another term used in place for conflict diamonds is ‘blood’ diamonds.
With massive issues springing up, The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was born, implementing rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds.
In 2003 working groups and committees were formed to implement KPCS programs, ensuring a massive slowdown of conflict diamonds hitting the worldwide supply chain.
The Kimberly Process is not so much an international organization but a place where participants supply contributions, which are then supported by the diamond industry and civil society observers.
To date, 59 participants representing 85 countries are on the list—members of the KP account for around 99.8 per cent of the world’s production of rough diamonds.
When exporting rough diamonds, countries must follow strict export requirements to adhere to the KP Clean Diamond Trade Act.
As such, rough diamonds can only be exported from KP participants and must be in sealed, tamper-resistant containers.
According to kimberleyprocess.com, 2019 statistics show that the total value of diamonds traded through the KPCS amounted to $13,574,417,964.86.
The Kimberly Process’s definition of conflict-free diamonds only accounts for the rock funding rebel groups. Other issues in the sector involve child labour, human trafficking and the destruction of the surrounding environment.
Diamond mining also entails lots of physical work and is potentially dangerous. So although The Kimberly Process has looked into one major problem, ensuring the rocks are found under the right working conditions and the workers are paid fairly is also important.