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Hi Brad,

Thanks for commenting on my post. 

I agree with what you say here: “the need for the work of ARM, DDI, FJA, and others to become the driver of broader demand and policy changes.”   

ARM and DDI are working from the radical center.   Fair Jewelry Action is certainly in support of ARM and DDI’s initiatives, but we function, in part, as a campaign organization.   We believe in traceability and transparency across the supply chain, and are especially concerned about how the jewelry sector impacts the producer communities, especially in context to human rights and environmental justice.

Personally, when I read about KP issues in the press, I feel as if I am in a parallel universe.  Take the recently celebrated initiative that blocks diamonds from the Central African Republic.  These diamonds will be sold on the black market and cut in Surat and then be declared KP certified.  Then they will be sold to jewelers in the US, probably cheaper that legit diamonds.  

The brokenness of KP impacts ethical jewelers and consumers by supporting false premises.  The public is deceived.  Though the purchase of untraceable diamonds, mainstream jewelers have a competitive advantage against other jewelers who are trying to develop the market for products supports by ARM, PRADD and DDI…  companies such as my own, which sell diamonds for ethical unique wedding and engagement rings.

Nevertheless, I can see validity in the point you make, “The KP provides a tremendous platform for the development of ideas like this, if only it would be used more for that purpose (as DDI and PRADD have done, however).” 

The question is, maybe those initiative might gain strength and support if the larger KP system was eliminated.  At that point, there would be no outside assurance of “conflict free” and jewelers would have to face the issues of traceability and transparency in the diamond supply chain more directly.  The public, at least in the US and EU, would be more sensitive to the issues.  This might well catalyze real best practices.  Without KP, civil society would support a new platform that has real veracity in context to traceability and transparency.

Despite the good efforts and best intentions of you and others, I have come to believe that there are too many opposing values among the KP participants to create a system that provides real ethical diamond assurance, which is what many of us really want.    

 

 

Thanks, Marc.  I am grateful for these thought-provoking posts and recognize I am both coming to them a bit late as well as an extremely biased observer.  But I do feel a need to say a word or 2.

The principal argument you raise here is that, notwithstanding the existence of the KP and its efforts, bad things continue to happen within the supply chain that are able to be hidden to some extent by the veil of the KP.  And that the KP and other initiatives by the broader industry, like RJC, are smoke screens (or worse) that block the development of real change by smaller companies and initiatives. 

This last point is what matters most, I think: the need for the work of ARM, DDI, FJA, and others to become the driver of broader demand and policy changes.  Certainly this has been a significant focus of the U.S. government in recent years in supporting many of these efforts, as well as the USAID project called PRADD (http://usaidlandtenure.net/pradd/project-brief) that has been featured before on GOXI.  This is very much where change will come from, and we need more consumers and industry actors to learn about and engage with this work. 

But that hardly means the KP should be eliminated.  The KP provides a tremendous platform for the development of ideas like this, if only it would be used more for that purpose (as DDI and PRADD have done, however).  And the achievement of a comprehensive certification system for the commodity that extends worldwide is one yet to be replicated in any other sector, and even if the big tent has leaks, the point is to repair the leaks and not tear down the tent.  The "Washington Declaration" that we adopted last year concerning policy goals in artisanal mining provides a tremendous point of entry for you and others to engage with the WDC and others in the system to show the places in the tent that need the most attention.

Certainly much more to be said in this regard, but I will stop there, as I said some more in a recent interview: http://www.jckonline.com/blogs/cutting-remarks/2013/06/24/exit-interview-ex-special-advisor-on-conflict-diamonds-brad-brooks-rubin