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Diamond Development Initiative

February 22, 2021

Diamond Development Initiative

We have supported Diamond Development Initiative financially for close to a decade.

This global NGO has been improving poor artisanal miners lives in practical ways. Man-made diamonds are now commercially viable and less expensive than natural diamonds. ‘Lab-grown diamonds’ (LGD) are marketed as protecting artisanal miners, but that’s a bad simplification. I believe in funding DDI  because the work they are doing is improving the livelihoods of millions of poor people faced with few other options.

In 2020, RESOLVE and the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) joined forces in a program merger to bolster capacity to support responsible sourcing of artisanally mined diamonds and to broaden the scope to include, among others, gold, cobalt and “the three Ts” (tin, tantalum, and tungsten). The integration of programs is an impact multiplier, bringing together more than fifty years of combined experience in conflict prevention and resolution, poverty reduction, biodiversity protection, supply chain due diligence, and ethical products. With this merger, the newly formed DDI@RESOLVE program will continue to work diligently with industry, government, and civil society to realize the promise of responsibly sourced artisanal diamonds and other minerals, free from conflict and human rights violations and in support of economic development.

DDI@RESOLVE works to transform artisanal and small-scale mining by bringing this largely unregulated, informal sector into the formal economy in ways that benefit miners, their communities, regional and national economies, and the diamond and jewellery industry. They seek a world where artisanal and small-scale miners, communities, and governments realize the benefits of legitimate minerals trade through formalization and compliance with human rights, social, and environmental standards leading to better economic and environmental outcomes. Markets recognize this progress, creating incentives for better performance to match improved policy.

DDI@RESOLVE created and applied the Maendeleo Diamond Standards, the first-ever set of standards for ethical artisanal diamond production and supply chain security. The standard supports more formal, efficient, and environmentally responsible approaches. DDI@RESOLVE’s land reclamation work in Sierra Leone is setting new standards for environmental remediation and supporting livelihoods in communities long subject to poverty and resource-based conflict. Current priorities include:

  • reconciliation for communities affected by conflict;
  • restoration to heal the land, improve health and safety, and support alternative livelihoods; and
  • responsible sourcing to ensure artisanal diamond miners have a path out of poverty, and consumers gain confidence that human rights and social and environmental standards are embedded in jewellery.

Artisanally mined diamonds are the main livelihood for more than 1.5 million miners in 18 countries in Africa and South America and those miners support around 10 million family members. They earn very little and often work illegally and under terrible conditions; violence and child labour are common, and environmental damage is caused by stripping topsoil.

Diamond Development Initiative’s 8 principles cover legality, consent and community engagement, human and worker’s rights, health and safety, violence-free operations, environmental management, interactions with large-scale mining and site closure and environmental restoration. Each of these principles is measurable and audited. The standards worked in a test in Sierra Leone, the basis for the Blood Diamond movie, and they’re now ready for implementation across the other African and South American countries.

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