Kimberley Process (KP) Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem has met with Tokyo Diamond Exchange Club President Michio Iwasaki, Secretary General Yoshiaki Yamaka and Japan Gem Society Vice President Nilam Alawdeen along with a number of leading jewellery retailers to raise awareness about the role of the KP in establishing consumer confidence.
“Consumers are naturally at the heart of the diamond supply chain, because without them and their trust, the industry would not exist,” said Bin Sulayem., adding, “Japan is the only high profile diamond consumer market where millennial ownership is considerably lower (31 percent) than older customers (66 percent).
He went to say, “As the former group buys the most diamonds on average globally, there is clearly substantial scope to raise awareness for the value of and confidence in these gems.” One way to do this is to show the role the diamond industry plays in supporting livelihoods in source markets and strengthen consumer confidence in the sector by highlighting the efforts of the KP in ensuring the diamond supply chain is operating in an ethical manner.”
Japan is the fourth largest consumer of diamonds in the world behind US, China and India. It made up 7 percent of the global diamond jewellery market share in 2014, amounting to $5.8 billion; meanwhile, it imported $18.3 million in rough diamonds in 2015.
“While the KP’s primary function is to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, over the past year, we have also sought to strengthen the foundations of the broader industry through initiatives such as rough diamond valuation. As a result, seeking out ways we can support major diamond consuming markets appeal more effectively to customers by countering misconceptions about the industry is another area where we believe we can add value,” Bin Sulayem noted.
He concluded, “This is why we are actively working with the representatives of the Japanese diamond industry to discuss ways we can educate the public about initiatives such as the establishment of a Permanent UN Secretariat and a common NGO fund.”
Following discussions in Japan, Bin Sulayem is slated to visit the Republic of Korea.