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Revised SoW Vital For Diamond Value Chain, WDC President Tells OECD

Senior officials of the World Diamond Council (WDC) have provided an overview of the organisation's revised System of Warranties (SoW), during two sessions on April 24 at the 13th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

During the briefings, WDC President Stephane Fischler described the revised SoW as an "essential building block" for participants in the diamond supply chain towards implementing the OECD's due diligence guidance for minerals from high-risk areas.

The first of the sessions was a side event organised with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), at which the WDC presented its revised SoW and RJC explained its new Code of Practices. The second was a deep-dive session that was part of the OECD forum's main agenda. Titled "Putting Commitments into Action," it focused on recent standard-making developments in upstream and downstream diamond supply chains.

The revised SoW Guidelines specifically reference the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and also national AML guidelines that comply with the FATF 40 Recommendations on Money Laundering for Dealers in Precious Metals and Stones.

"The revised SoW has to be seen within the context of a range of responsible supply chain opportunities being offered to a very diverse industry," said Fischler, adding, "the ultimate objective for all of us is the same - ensuring consumer confidence in the products we sell. The different systems need to be complementary, being building blocks on the road to full compliance."

WDC Board member Peter Karachiev, who chaired the side event, commented, “The revised SoW is designed to support the KPCS, covering not only the trade in rough, but polished diamonds as well, and also trading between every participant in the diamond and jewellery value chain, and not only trade between participants in different countries. We are hoping that the KPCS will be expanded to include provisions related to human rights, labour rights, anti-corruption and AML, but we are not waiting for it to happen, and have already incorporated those elements in our own system." 

Fischler and Karakchiev both explained that diamond companies are not permitted to pick and choose what elements to implement. "Members of the trade who implement the SoW are required to fulfil all of its elements depending on their size and sector, as they are outlined in the guidelines," Karakchiev said. "The self-assessment toolkit that is being developed will help them do that."

Implementation of the SoW is already required by a range of industry bodies, including RJC, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), De Beers' Best Practice Principles and CIBJO's new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book.

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