Oct 07, 2019

SCS Global Services Launches Sustainability Pilot for Lab Grown Diamond Industry

SCS Global Services (SCS), an organisation which conducts third-party environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development, has announced the launch of what it terms as “a groundbreaking pilot to audit and analyse lab grown diamonds against a stringent set of sustainability criteria”.

Earlier this year, the Lab Grown Diamond Council had announced its decision to retain SCS, to create the world’s first independent ‘product’ sustainability certification standard for lab grown diamonds. The current pilot is the result of this decision.

“The market for lab grown diamonds is growing rapidly, creating the need to not only prevent fraud, but independently substantiate and differentiate product sustainability claims,” SCS said in a statement announcing the launch of the pilot. “The sustainability performance criteria address key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including a commitment to becoming climate neutral.”

The organisation also said that the criteria outlined will be reviewed through a multi-stakeholder process, with inputs of the results of the pilot assessments. For this, a multi-stakeholder Standard Review Committee is being established to oversee the process. The Committee will include persons from academia; lab grown diamond producers; retailers; non-profit organisations, and other experts in the field.

“The pilot audits mark an important step in the process of certifying sustainability,” says Stanley Mathuram, SCS Vice President. “Through the audits, we will be able to ground-truth assumptions about laboratory operations involved in the creation of lab-grown diamonds, ensure that the standard’s criteria fully capture the potential range of issues, and better equip the Standard Review Committee to do its work.”

SCS added that the certification will support the lab diamond growers’ business-to-business sustainability claims to distribution and retail customers.

“Recent consumer research, “The Need for Third Party Verification of Mined and Lab Grown Diamond Claims,” conducted by MVI Marketing, a leading market research and analysis firm for the worldwide gem and jewellery industries, found that more than 85% of jewellery purchasers view independent, third-party verification of the social and environmental impact of any diamond they consider purchasing as important,” SCS explained.

Several companies have come forward to participate in the pilot, setting themselves apart as leaders in sustainability and transparency. “We applaud these companies for stepping up to participate in the pilot,” said   Mathuram, noting that this will put them squarely on the path toward certification.

Comments from some participants of the pilot:

Leon Peres, CEO of Green Rocks, a vertically integrated high-tech grower and old-world diamond cutter, said: “Third-party product sustainability certification will assure our customers that our diamonds are exactly what we say they are – sustainably and responsibly grown and cut. This certification is extremely important to our industry, and we intend to support it in any way we can.”

Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, a renowned international brand commented: “Through independent certification, the lab grown diamond sector has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is delivering on its sustainability promises. We have committed to get our supply chain certified to confirm that responsible practices are in place.”

Anmol Bhansali, of Goldiam, a major CVD diamond grower based in India, focussing on export for major global retailers said: “We welcome this development. The certification will underscore the value-added proposition represented by lab grown diamonds, both for today’s evolving consumer and in our industry’s convoluted supply chain.”

Silviu Reinhorn, CEO of Lusix, an Israel-based producer of unique pyramid-shaped lab- grown rough diamonds said: “Product sustainability certification is just the right move for this emerging market. Certification will debunk certain misconceptions in the market and will give owners of lab grown diamonds one more validation point.”

Julie Yoakum, Chief Merchandising Officer, Helzberg Diamonds, a Berkshire Hathaway Company with over 200 stores nationwide, commented: “As the retail leader in lab grown diamonds, Helzberg embraces transparency and integrity throughout the entire process from source to customer. Supporting the effort of benchmarking the sustainability of lab-grown diamonds is a logical fit for us.”

Yarden Tsach, President and Chief Technology Officer, WD Lab Grown Diamonds, a market leader in Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) diamonds said: “We fully embrace the opportunity to develop responsible and transparent standards. This is a critical step in what we know today’s consumer will demand of the category.”