Consumer attitudes to diamonds, gold and other precious metals and gemstones also influences the level of Group sales. Attitudes could be affected by a variety of issues including concern over the source of raw materials; the impact of mining and refining of minerals on the environment, the local community and the political stability of the producing country; labour conditions in the supply chain; the availability and consumer attitudes to substitute products such as cubic zirconia, moisanite and of laboratory created diamonds. The Group, therefore, has a Supplier Code of Conduct which sets out the Group’s expectations of its suppliers.
An example of an issue that could affect consumer confidence is conflict diamonds, which is the term used for diamonds sold by rebel movements to raise funds for military campaigns. There have been a number of United Nations resolutions regarding conflict diamonds and an international agreement, known as the Kimberley Process, was signed in November 2002. This was designed to exclude such diamonds from the legitimate diamond trade. During 2003 legislation was passed in the European Union and the US, implementing the Kimberley Process. The agreement now extends to more than 70 countries and its effectiveness is regularly reviewed and steps to improve its implementation continue to be taken. The impact of the Kimberley Process and its associated legislation has not resulted in any disruption to the supply of rough diamonds to date and has helped to improve the integrity of the supply chain.
The Group reviews its procedures and documentation for compliance with the Kimberley Process as well as the World Diamond Council System of Warranties and makes appropriate amendments. In addition, staff are briefed and suppliers reminded about the procedures. The Group’s internal audit function and mystery shopper programmes enable detailed compliance monitoring throughout the business. Reviews by external third parties of the Group’s compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification System and System of Warranties were successfully carried out in the US in 2006/07 and as required in the UK in 2007/08. Based on these reviews the Audit Committee was satisfied that the Group was in compliance.
See Social, ethical & environmental matters for further information on the Supplier Code of Conduct, the Kimberley Process, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices and the Group’s policy on conflict diamonds.
In order to better address issues relating to social, ethical and environmental matters within the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain, the Group, together with other industry participants founded the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices. This body was set up in May 2005 and Council Members are committed to promoting responsible business practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail.