The value of diamonds has been calculated not just by their price down the ages, but also the deep emotional connection they hold for those who own them. Traditionally part of the most significant life events like engagements & weddings, the global industry size of the diamond jewellery market is US $82 billion, while the polished diamond industry value is US $25 billion, making this one of the largest industrial sectors in the world. India is the global hub for cutting & polishing, with 85% of the world's diamonds being cut & polished here and the industry contributes to 7% of India's GDP. There is a lot more to this industry than the visual beauty & sparkle of diamonds and it is going through a huge shift in its efforts towards becoming a sustainable sector.
Consumers are becoming more environment-conscious and demand that businesses build eco-consciousness into their operations. The harm caused by irresponsible practices and environmental destruction is a matter of concern, and they like to remain informed about the bi-products of carbon footprint and hazardous waste created by most businesses whose products they buy. Consumers, across industries, are demanding sustainable options. Keeping this in mind, the diamond industry decided to pioneer a sustainable business model and worked with Trucost ESG Analysis, part of S&P Global, to release an independent report titled The Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact of Large-Scale Diamond Mining which talks about the reality of modern diamond mining and how the industry has put sustainability at its core.
According to the report, leading diamond mining companies collectively emitted 160 kg of CO2e per polished carat produced. This is equivalent to the amount generated by driving 390 miles in an average passenger vehicle. The estimated overall environmental impact is comparable to that of any other everyday product, such as mobile phones or flower bouquets, and is 69% less than the carbon emissions by lab-grown diamond companies for a diamond of an equivalent size. Keeping in mind their responsibility towards the environment, the diamond industry has been working actively on programs aimed at reducing their energy use and carbon footprint.
Did you know that when you buy a diamond, you are helping communities and people across the world? With socio-economic and environmental benefits worth US $16 billion created by the diamond mining industry every year, every diamond consumer is helping provide employment, education and healthcare for millions of people. Diamond mining has a much smaller environmental impact than you can imagine. Most of the mining is done through a combination of pressure and recycled water, and the land used for mining is naturally reclaimed by the Earth once the mine reaches the end of its life. In fact, over 83% of the water used in processing natural diamonds is recycled and the industry protects wildlife & wilderness across an area exceeding three times the land they use for mining.
The industry also values its employees considerably, as it houses over 77,000 employees and the average employee of the diamond mining industry earns more than 66% of the national average salary of their countries. Also, US $3.9 billion worth of benefits have been created locally through employment, benefitting communities directly and indirectly. In all, the diamond mining industry has contributed to US $292 million worth of benefits towards social programs, including education and healthcare. Thus, it is fair to say that the diamond mining industry believes in giving back to the community.
It is essential that industries take up the responsibility to provide transparency and showcase the reality through extensive research and hard facts. Consumers, who consider diamonds to be an essential part of the most special moments of their lives, need to know that the product they are investing in has a clean and sustainable origin. The TruCost report comes at a critical time for the diamond industry, and will help in reinforcing consumer trust and demand for natural diamonds. Consumers can make their purchase decision armed with the knowledge that their diamond has created immeasurable benefits for the economy and environment as a whole, because diamonds really do benefit the world.