green_diamond2.jpgThe Green Diamond Supply Chain

“Environmental concerns are finally finding its way from strategy and board room meetings to operations and to supply chain management (SCM). A growing number of companies have realized the world over that implementing supply chain management is only one of the objectives they need to realize. The other important agenda is to make this SCM environmentally friendly. This has catapulted SCM to a new height that promises to give a major contribution to the company’s overall strategy.” (Indian Institute of Materials Management)

Thworld_diamond_council.gife environmental aspect of supply chain management is increasingly moving to the forefront of any supply chain management discussion. In the context of the diamond supply chain, environmental concerns abound. The process of mining precious minerals has a major impact on the environment. Additionally, the chemicals used in the finishing process also have the potential to negatively impact the environment. The World Diamond Council in response to the growing concerns over the “greeness” of the diamond supply chain and accusations that non-developed countries (Africa and Central America) are left to cope with the environmental damage, issued an “Environmental Fact Sheet” describing the ways in which environmental concerns are addressed throughout the diamond supply chain. (The World Diamond Council)
The Fact Sheet opens with “the formal diamond mining industry constantly strives to strike a balance between its economic, social and environmental responsibilities, while making a positive and lasting contribution to the environment and communities in which it operates.” It should be noted that this piece serves as both a marketing tool and an “official” documentation of the ways in which the major diamond suppliers strive to mitigate the environmental damage which is the natural byproduct of production of mining.

green_diamond1.jpgSpecifically, diamond suppliers (Tiffany’s included) have implemented the following practices to make the diamond supply chain “green:”

· The implementation of environmental standards - De Beers, Tiffany’s and other major suppliers utilize ISO 14001 standards of environmental management in conjunction with Environmental Impact Assessments and Social Impact Assessments. These large scale companies also publish periodic reports on the environmental performance in an effort to become more transparent to the eco-conscious retail market.
· Instituting “green” mining management practices – minimizing the amount of soil moved, reusing vehicle tracks, refilling topsoil in exploration sites, the use of Kimberlite pipes, and use of sea walls in the marine mining process.
· Taking action to eliminate waste, reduce the use of carbon based fuel, and the employment of water conservation strategies.