Dubai, UAE:The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has been honored by the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) of New York for contributions to supporting the sustainable growth of the global diamond industry. During an official visit to the United States, the accolade was given to Mr. Sulayem by Reuven Kaufman, President of the DDC, and Eli Izhakoff, Honorary President of the DDC and WFDB.
Part of the series of visits across important markets in the diamond supply chain under the tenure as KP Chair, Mr. Bin Sulayem held meetings with key stakeholders in New York to garner support for initiatives proposed over the past year aimed at strengthening the foundation of the KPCS. These include the need for, a consensus around a system of rough diamond valuation, the Permanent Secretariat in the UN for the KP, and a common fund for NGOs involved in the global initiative. The parties also discussed the manner in which trade bodies in key markets, such as the DDC in the US and DMCC in the UAE, can cooperate to bolster the growth of the industry in a sustainable manner.
“The world-class infrastructure for the diamond industry in the US, along with the work they have done in developing innovative best practices to follow, sets the country apart as one of the most mature markets in the sector”, said Mr Bin Sulayem. “Given this position, stakeholders in the US have a unique opportunity to continue driving the industry forward by ensuring parties across the diamond supply chain are receiving their fair share, and this is an ambition we have relentlessly pushedthis year. I am honoured by the recognition from the DDC, and given the positive discussions that have taken place, we are optimistic that there will be significant progress made towards this goal.”
The US is the largest consumer of diamonds in the world and is consequently one of the most important stakeholders in the global diamond supply chain. It imported $343.5 million in rough diamonds last year, while sales of diamonds hit a record level of US$ 39 billion in 2015, which was a rise of 5% over 2014, according to research from De Beers.The US also increased its share of global polished diamond demand from 42 per cent to 45 per cent last year. Industry officials expect the country to continue driving sales globally in 2016, though there are challenges expected due to lower demand from millennial customers given their concerns around sustainability and ethical production in the sector.
“Strengthening the public’s trust in the diamond industry is, naturally, essential to its long-term prosperity. As a result, industry stakeholders in the US –the biggest diamond market globally – have a vital role in enhancing consumer confidence. Through our discussions here, we have focused on the part the KP can play in this regard. We strongly believe that driving public awareness about the work being done to ensure ethical production and the concept of fair value is embedded across the diamond supply chain will go a long way towards building the public’s trust in the diamond industry.”