The World Diamond Council (WDC) was formed in 2000 to represent the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). However, over the years, the scope of the organization’s activities have expanded to serve several additional functions, mainly advocating for the industry at large.
At some point when the Kimberley Process was being formed, it became clear that the system should be between countries. However, all those involved in creating the system realized that in order for it to work well, two additional inputs were needed. The first, that of civil society, which set the initial drive to address conflict diamonds. The other was the diamond industry, the industry most affected by the decisions, and which implements many of the system’s decrees.
Both bodies, civil society and the diamond industry, have observer status in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). To that end, WDC was formed to represent the diamond industry as a whole – from mining through manufacturing to retailing and provide assistance to the Kimberley Process by employing the resources of the diamond industry to provide technical, financial and other support.
As the representative body, the members of WDC are businesses and organizations around the world that are engaged in every sector of the diamond trade.
WDC views its mission as to continue to prevent trade in conflict diamonds. Through its role as the representative of the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process, WDC promotes industry alignment and responsibility, preserves the integrity of the entire diamond supply chain as well as provides industry education and training.
One of the unique contributions WDC made to ensuring ethical trading in diamonds was the creation of system of warranties. As the KPCS deals only with rough diamonds, there were no further assurances regarding the diamonds once they were polished. The system of warranties fills that void and extends the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process beyond the export and import of rough diamonds.
In 2006, WDC took the lead in a media campaign launched to explain what conflict diamonds are and what the industry was doing to combat them. It launched DiamondFacts.org, a website providing information about the history of the diamond trade, the social and economic benefits diamonds provide to countries in which they are mined, and how the industry is tackling issues such as conflict diamonds.
WDC played an important role in finding a solution to the controversy surrounding Zimbabwe and diamonds mined in the Marange region of the country. WDC actively brokered talks in 2010 between Zimbabwe and Kimberley Process members and civil society, in which the country agreed to hold two supervised exports of diamonds from Marange, following review visits in August and September of that year. This ensured not only that the country adheres to the rules governing the Kimberley Process, but also ensured that it does so ethically.
WDC is currently engaged in the work of all of the Kimberley Process committees and workgroups, to provide support as well as insights from the diamond industry. It is acting on requests that the definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ better reflects consumer perception of the term and not be limited to rebel wars as it does today.
WDC has recently begun taking an active role in the application of the Operational Framework of the Administrative Decision on the Resumption of Diamond Exports from the Central African Republic (CAR), so that country can once again become KP compliant, export rough diamonds and generate much needed funds for the infrastructure and betterment of its citizens.
Diamond industrialist Ehud Arye Laniado is a man passionate about diamonds. From his early 20s in Africa and later in Belgium honing his expertise in forecasting the value of polished diamonds by examining rough diamonds by hand, till today four decades later, as chairman of his international diamond businesses spanning mining, exploration, rough and polished diamond valuation, trading, manufacturing, retail and consultancy services, Laniado has mastered both the miniscule details of evaluating and pricing individual rough diamonds and the entire structure of the diamond industry. Today, his global operations are at the forefront of the industry, recognised in diamond capitals from Mumbai to Tel Aviv and Hong Kong to New York.