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DPA: Natural Diamond Carbon Footprint Lower Than Lab-Grown Stones

The Diamond Producers Association (DPA), released its first independent research report on members' impact on local communities, employees and the environment. Among other things, the report shows that despite claims to the contrary, naturally mined diamonds have a per-carat carbon footprint that is just one-third that of a similar lab-grown diamond.

The report, authored by the consultancy Trucost, and titled The Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact of Large-Scale Diamond Mining, is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the contributions of DPA members, examining socioeconomic and environmental benefits and impacts.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Salaries and wages paid by DPA members created $3.9 billion in direct and indirect benefits.
  • DPA members employ 77,000 people in their operations worldwide. This is comparable to Fortune 500 companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Alphabet, Nordstrom and Nike Inc.
  • DPA members’ employees and contractors are highly trained; the average DPA Member employee or contractor is paid 66 percent more than the national average salary and receives nearly five times the living wage in his/her country.
  • 60 percent of the total benefits from DPA members are infused into local communities through sourcing of goods and services, taxes and royalties, social programs and infrastructure investment.
  • DPA members infused $6.8 billion in benefits into local communities through the purchase of local goods and services.
  • Local communities receive $3.9 billion in positive benefits through employment and social programs ($292 million), such as health and education.
  • DPA members provided $3 billion in tax revenue, royalties and dividends which, in turn, fund local infrastructure and other civic improvements.
  • Modern diamond mining is a long-term investment, and members actively build long-term partnerships with the communities in which they work.
  • The largest source of DPA members’ environmental footprint is its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, with160 kg of CO2e per polished carat.
    • The estimated CO2e associated with energy use in laboratory-created diamond production is nearly three times greater than diamonds produced by DPA members in 2016.
  • DPA members collectively protected more than 260,000 hectares (1,000 square miles) of natural land in Russia, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Australia and Canada. Members protect three times the land they use for mining globally.
  • The environmental cost of producing a diamond is 37 percent of a single one-way airline ticket from New York City to Los Angeles.
  • DPA members currently implement long-term biodiversity conservation programs.

“This report marks an industry first. Diamond producing companies representing three quarters of the world’s production have come together to provide a window into the impacts and benefits of their activities on the communities and environments of the countries and regions in which they operate,” said DPA Chief Executive Jean-Marc Lieberherr.

He added, “This independent research report breaks outdated stereotypes and misconceptions and identifies the next set of challenges that must be met to continue to evolve and improve as an industry. It also provides a baseline for industry participants and observers to track future progress.”

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