JA issues advisory on ‘Conflict Diamonds Day of Action’

Nongovernmental organizations are planning a “Conflict Diamonds Day of Action” on Saturday, Sept. 18. On this day, activists are planning to go to jewelry stores and question jewelers on whether they are adhering to Kimberley Process guidelines and other practices they are using to ensure that their diamonds are conflict free. Because of this, Jewelers of America on Friday issued an advisory on how to deal with these inquiries.

JA issued that advisory when it learned of this “Day of Action,” which is being pushed Amnesty International. JA says AI “is encouraging consumers and activists to make direct inquiries concerning retail jewelersf participation in the Kimberley Process. c During this campaign activity, jewelers can expect to be asked what policies their businesses have put into practice in order to help stop the flow of conflict diamonds.”

JA said in AI’s call to action, the organization cited cited Broken Vows, the Global Witness report from earlier this year, in which several retail jewelers did not respond to inquiries from Global Witness regarding the conflict diamonds issue.

“JA would like to remind all jewelers that it is imperative to respond promptly to questions from NGOs, media, or consumers about conflict diamonds, as well as other social, ethical, and environmental issues, should they be asked,” the advisory states. “Responses to any inquiry should be positive, indicating a commitment to ethical business practices and a strong belief in corporate social responsibility.”

If jewelers receive an inquiry about conflict diamonds, JA advises that, “They should emphasize their support of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for rough diamonds. Retailers should also explain that, in order to provide consumers with added confidence in their merchandise, they require written assurances of adherence to the Kimberley Process warranty system from their diamond and diamond jewelry suppliers. Participants in Amnesty Internationalfs campaign may ask for specifics on the implementation and enforcement of this policy.”

The advisory continues, “Even if they are not contacted in connection with this campaign, JA would like to urge all retail jewelers to continue requiring their diamond and diamond jewelry suppliers to warrant that they subscribe to the voluntary warranty system. JA recommends that retailers require vendors to print this language on their invoices or incorporate it into vendor agreements: The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.

Information and resources regarding conflict diamonds and the Kimberley Process can be found at the JA Web site, www.jewelers.org.