State Visit of Belgium to India
On the Occassion of the State Visit of their majesties the King and Queen of Belgium to India, Rosy Blue was invited to speak on how our company contributes to sustainable socioeconomic development.
Our Managing Director, Mr. Amit Bhansali gave an impressive speech on the reputational risks the diamond industry is facing, and how we are approaching this risk by upholding the most ethical and sustainable standards.
Please read on for the full speech.
Your Majesty King Filip of Belgium, Your excellencies, Distinguished guests, Good afternoon. I would like to thank GJEPC and AWDC for organizing this event regarding ‘Best Practices in the Diamonds Business’. On this matter, it is an honor to be invited to share how our company - Rosy Blue - contributes to social and economically sustainable development throughout the diamond industry pipeline.
To offer some context, I would like to share with you all the current diamond industry dynamics and challenges we face. The industry is small, managed mostly by family businesses, and seemingly glamorous. But most of all, it is often deeply misunderstood. The diamond industry has increasingly become a soft target, whether it be in the political sphere, the media, and most recently - with financial institutions.
Despite having some of the highest compliance standards expected from our company, and our industry; Despite our efforts to exceed such requirements; Despite the important positive steps towards transparency, be it through stakeholder dialogues, annual reporting and a variety of other tools;
As an industry, we are facing reputational and trust issues that are OUT OF PROPORTION with any kind of reality.
Reputational risk - is the most vital challenge of our time.
Rosy Blue has always held the belief that there is nothing more powerful for a company or an industry than a good reputation. In a modern world, this directly translates to generating value addition to the greater communities and societies within which we operate.
Our company motto is to be ‘MORE THAN DIAMONDS’. These are words which have an important meaning for us. “More” means quality, service, transparency and information. “More” also means integrity, ethics, responsibility and being a good citizen to society.
A diamond company like Rosy Blue creates so much more than economic value by creating and sustaining jobs; our approach is to create a social ripple effect of skills, knowledge, education and training throughout the supply chain. We also engage the thousands of men and women that we directly employ into our social projects ranging from environmental projects, to educational and healthcare causes.
This brings me to the main section of my discourse: Rosy Blue has been undertaking efforts to push the ‘ethical’ status of diamonds a step higher by making long-lasting positive impacts on socioeconomic development.
Rosy Blue started a highly focused CSR journey in 2008. In ten years, we are proud that not only do we meet the highest possible financial and social external verification standards in our industry we often exceed them, and even create new standards altogether by working closely with other major like-minded groups within the diamond and jewellery pipeline.
The inner circle – the core – is what most players will follow: strict compliance with laws and regulations. The second circle, is a higher expectation we have of our own industry, that exceeds local legislation. Just one example of this is the Responsible Jewellery Council – the RJC – which has created the industry’s most widely accepted standard, and membership requires meeting these standards. As founding members of the Council, we are proud to see memberships go from 14 members to over a 1000 member companies in 10 years. Other standards exist in this second circle as well, and key industry players continue to move towards them. The outer-circle are additional, voluntary commitments a company can partake to go that extra-mile. We have implemented many of these at various parts of Rosy Blue’s pipeline, such as: • our factories were the first diamond manufacturing plants to be SA8000 certified • we are the first diamond company to be actively engaged with the UN and their LEAD platform • and recently, we have launched an environmental project to control, minimize and eventually off-set our carbon footprint in cooperation with the Carbon Trust – a leader in this field These voluntary commitments go straight to our core value that in the long-run, ‘doing good’ and ‘doing good business’ always goes hand in hand.
In 2016, we challenged our business strategy by the standards of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. This universal set of targets, launched by the UN two years ago, covers a range of urgent issues such as ‘fighting poverty’, ‘economic growth’ and ‘climate action’. It is a vision of a sustainable future that involves governments, businesses, communities and individuals. I believe that the diamond industry, has the potential to globally influence and affect all of the 17 SDG’s. In that spirit, we assessed our value chain in great detail, to map our current impacts towards the SDG’s. This large-scale exercise, involving all of our stakeholders, led to a careful examination of our sustainability strategy as well as our BUSINESS strategy. We ask ourselves, where can our company make impactful positive contributions?
Rosy Blue is situated in the midstream of the supply chain. We mapped all 17 SDG’s for every separate activity in our value chain. This self- assessment highlights positive impacts we have already achieved, specifically in our core area of diamond manufacturing. We also learned where the opportunities are to improve further and expand our desired impact. • Our approach goes beyond ‘conflict-free’ certification that is upheld by the UN-backed Kimberley Process: we GUARANTEE the ethical origin of our diamonds, respect for human rights, decent working conditions, environmental protection and the utmost product integrity. Our diamonds travel a journey that is fully ethical and transparent and that contributes to the welfare of the communities from which we employ people. This touches upon several SDG’s such as Decent Work, Peace and Justice, and many of the humanitarian ones • Our environmental footprint as a diamond manufacturer focuses on energy consumption, primarily at our production facilities. We have made a lot of efforts to map and measure energy usage across locations to precisely minimize waste – which has been part of our Lean & Six Sigma strategy for supply-chain management We are happy to see that we have inspired various players and industry bodies to create their own SDG assessments. We encourage everyone in the diamond value chain to map, identify and manage their SDG impacts.
Cooperation and partnerships are crucial to making an even greater impact.
It is by industry-wide cooperation that today 99.8% of world diamonds come from confirmed conflict-free sources. The journey from mine to finger adheres to stringent requirements, and verified by external auditors. In the UN leadership platform, we are assured that the diamond industry stands out far ahead in compliance standards, compared with other luxury products and other industries. And still it is hard to understand that the most beautiful product created by earth, managed in such a responsible manner, is often painted as a horrible thing: causing pain, war and crime..
It is in fact – quite the opposite. Whether it is in Canada, all parts of Africa, Russia or Australia – diamond mining has an immensely positive impact today, often being one of the largest contributors to national infrastructure, education and healthcare funds. Diamond miners also adhere to the strictest environmental codes. And be it India, China, Thailand or many other manufacturing countries, diamond factories provide safe, well-paid, sustainable jobs to millions, with virtually no toxic or environmental risks. And finally the product itself is the ultimate symbol of everlasting love and provide the final owner with a sense of love and value like no other product can.
I would like to urge our governments, and all of you present today, to join us in encouraging trust, confidence and an open mind towards our business. Promoting our positive reputation helps us in every way, and is in fact the real state of the industry. Thank you for your attention and continued support.
Dr. Amit Bhansali, Managing Director Rosy Blue