Why should you care?
21, 176 and 188. Three numbers we want to bring to your attention. You could be thinking maybe some new lottery numbers? Your new shop alarm access code? Not another phone number to remember?”
Hashtag first world problems huh!
Actually, they’re all numbers from the latest Human Development Index (HDI) for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HDI measures values in human development: quality of life, education and standard of living.
Ok, what do the numbers represent then? Well, Belgium comes in at number 21 on that list (One being the highest and currently awarded to Norway). 176 is where the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sits. But isn’t that to be expected? After all Belgium is in Europe and Congo is located, well, somewhere in Africa. Except, the DRC is a country rich in natural resources. Or more precisely a resource that makes up a probably a large part of your livelihood – diamonds. 188, by the way, is the bottom spot. The lowest of low. Currently and unfortunately occupied by Niger.
So a country that, let’s face it, affords you a more than comfortable lifestyle, is 12 spots off the bottom of the UN global list on living standards. In fact, according to the report, the DRC has the worst quality of life (http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/COD) on our planet. It doesn’t sound very ethical, does it? It doesn’t sound very fair.
The forced labour of children, to compound matters further, is an issue intrinsically linked to this index. And it’s illegal.
That’s why you should care.
What is the diamond industry in general, and Windiam in particular, doing to tackle the issue?
Positively speaking, the industry and Windiam are well aware of it. That’s at least a start. And whilst there are already initiatives underway to fight this practice, the key for the UNDP is to reduce poverty. With more than 100,000 artisanal miners in the DRC alone and 1,000,000 more cutters in India; a lot of lives depend on the sale of diamonds.
Here’s where you can take heart. By selling diamonds, you are directly contributing to minimise poverty. And a significant reduction in poverty will eventually eradicate these illegal child labour practices. Furthermore, Windiam only buys diamonds from legally registered companies in the DRC. Unfortunately, not all suppliers do. We are embracing our responsibility to help eradicate this appalling criminal activity.
What can you do?
Ensure and insist that your supplier sources rough diamonds ethically! Ask them what certifications they hold or memberships they contribute to. If they do, there shouldn’t be an issue telling you what they are.
If you’re not sure what to ask them, start with these:
alluvial-production-wgaap which successfully eliminated weapon purchases with illegal revenues. It now focuses on tackling human rights abuse within diamond mining countries.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Windiam was among one of the first certified members.
Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) As a certified member, we also contribute to the DDI who work tirelessly to improve working conditions for artisanal diamond miners.
Windiam also supports several charity organisations active in education and improvement of quality of life in Africa http://artinallofus.org/corporate.html
The elimination of child labour will require cooperative action on a wider political and international scale. You may have thought there was little you could do to help. Especially since you’re not directly involved in buying diamonds from the DRC and elsewhere.
But you can.
Choose to buy from a legitimate supplier. Choose Windiam.
Call our head office to speak to a representative here.