Committee discusses guidelines for implementing
ESG principles in laboratory-grown diamond sector
ESG consultants Jon Key (left) and Helen Mitchell, addressing the session of the CIBJO Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee on October 5, 2023. Thet are joined on the podium by Wesley Hunt (second from right), the committee Chair, and Ralika Anghel. Joining remotely as panellists are Joanna Park-Tonks, President of the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), Andrey Zharkov and Jean-Pierre Chalain, Vice President of the CIBJO Diamond Commission.
OCTOBER 5, 2023
In its session on October 5, the final day of the 2023 CIBJO Congress, the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee focused on the implementation of ESG (environment, sustainability and good governance) in the laboratory-grown diamond sector. The session was moderated by its chair, Wesley Hunt.
Consultants Jon Key and Helen Mitchell, who had been retained by CIBJO to develop a system outlining the incorporation of ESG practices in the sector, outlined 14 broad principles to guide companies in contributing to a more sustainable future. They are designed to adopted voluntarily, Ms. Mitchell noted, “But in today’s world there are only three absolute certainties – death, taxes and WSG regulation.”
The diagram of the principles was presented, showing a wheel divided by environmental, social responsibility and governance principles, provided clear definitions of each plus practical and measurable action items, including how each will contributed to meeting one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Among these were recommendations on renewable energy, such as switching to a renewable energy providers, monitoring energy use, and acquiring energy saving equipment.
The social responsibility principles covered areas such as health and safety, and paying fair wages.
“Consider the principles as a checklist as a means to move to sustainable and socially responsible action,” Mr. Key told the Congress.
Ms. Mitchell said she has sounded out CIBJO Congress participants and heard comments such as, “My company is too small to make a difference.”
“If we do take action [on ESG], we create new norms and others will follow,” she stated.
Ms. Mitchell urged jewellery companies to take simple steps, under the principles, such as monitoring water usage.
“Last year I worked with a manufacturing company that saved 20 percent of funds spent on water, by identifying their use of water,” she said. “I also worked with a company that removed all plastics from packaging.”
Laboratory-Grown Steering Committee members Joanna Park-Tonks, who heads the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), and Andrey Zharkov, founder of Ultra C, a lab-grown diamond jewellery company, said they welcomed the initiative as a means to create a more sustainable future for the lab-grown diamond sector.
“We are all feeling our way,” Park-Tonks told the congress.