Social Responsibility in the Diamond Industry
When most people think of the diamond industry, they probably think of many of the controversies that surround the mining of diamonds. For years the public has learned of the socioeconomic and environmental issues caused by diamond mining, speaking out but begrudgingly putting up with these unethical tactics. Like many of the other lab grown diamond businesses, we have inherited an industry with a dark side. By evading the mining process, we hope to provide an alternative for those who’ve had enough of the traditional diamond industry’s mistreatment of the planet and its people.
Many of those who work to provide lab grown diamonds do so because they want to help maintain those industrial or personal needs that diamonds fulfill, in a more conscious manner. Whether it be the machines we use or the symbols of lifelong bonds, diamonds are an integral part of our way of life. Rather than cutting diamonds out of our lives entirely, we work towards providing an alternative that is as good, if not better, than traditional diamonds.
How Lab Grown Diamonds Are The Better Alternative
The biggest issue caused by the diamond industry is how they source their diamonds. Terms like conflict diamonds and blood diamonds have become synonymous with diamonds as a whole. The best thing that lab grown diamonds can offer is their removal from this practice. Lab grown diamonds are diamonds that are formed in the controlled environment of a lab rather than within the earth over billions of years. There are many positives to lab grown diamonds (shorter formation period, controlled environment, regional supplying) but the biggest is that it does not disrupt the environment or people living around the world. Here at Jack Joseph, our New York based labs provide us with an ample supply of diamonds; allowing us to provide consumers with what they want without stepping foot into these areas.
While not all mined diamonds are sourced through unethical standards, lab grown diamonds have substantially less impact on the earth. Some mined diamonds are classified under the term “conflict free diamond”. In order to fit the definition of conflict free diamond the only requirement is that the sourcing of that diamond does not fund or correlate with military or terrorist actions. While it is great that these diamonds do not directly finance violence, this only solves one of the many issues caused by mining diamonds.
Just because the sourcing of a diamond does not directly fund conflict doesn’t mean it doesn’t exploit local labor or the communities these diamonds come from. There are a multitude of issues that arise when a natural resource is removed from its environment and the lives of the humans who live there are just the surface level issue.
Environmental Effects of Diamond Mining
There are plenty of environmental issues that come from mining diamonds. Like any natural resource, the limited amount and the intense process of procuring diamonds can lead to irreversible damage to the ecosystems that provide them. Mining, of any type, is a large investment. Especially with a mineral as highly sought after as diamonds, there needs to be a large operation to get as much out of that site as possible. While the reward is an abundant supply of diamonds, the detriment is a devastation of the earth at the mining site as well as the environment around it.
Damages vary depending on who is mining as well as where in the world the mining sites are. Some of the most common effects of diamond mining are soil erosion, deforestation, and an overall imbalance of the ecosystem. It is common for topsoil to run off into local rivers, affecting water and food sources. Diamonds are just one of the many natural resources that these places have to offer and ignoring the importance of the rest of the ecosystem is inexcusable.
Lab grown diamonds offer a minimal effect to the environment as the process does not cause great strain on the earth. The contained laboratory environment needed to produce lab grown diamonds does not contaminate the outside world and is heavily watched by the diamond growers. In a case like ours, we produce all our diamonds in the United States; this means that we follow all of the health and safety regulations that the US requires.
When it comes to mined diamonds, the case often is that the countries these diamonds come from heavily rely on the diamond industry to support their economy. Across Africa and Asia, diamond rich countries are willing to establish lower regulations than other nations when it comes to mining and environmentalism. While these diamonds may be procured legally, they are still far from ethical ones.
Social Effects of Diamond Production
The impact of lower regulations aren’t just in relation to environmental impact, less protective labor practices are also a huge byproduct of mining diamonds in some of these countries. The biggest victim to the aftermath of a mining site are those left behind. Whether it be workers who are now out of work due to the homogenous economy of the area or the children who were dragged into the industry, facing harsh conditions and abuse.
The process of mining diamonds is a large-scale operation and often needs as many workers as possible to fill the world’s demand. Children are brought into this intense environment, leading to exposure to harmful chemicals and aggressive workers. Many times sexual and physical abuse are reported in these work environments. Generations of children in these environments are impacted leading to a future of abuse and mistreatment.
In recent years, outside NGOs have had to help provide these mining communities with the knowledge and the skills needed to shift to other industries. These external organizations have helped these communities learn how to reclaim the soil and farm. Countries across west Africa rely heavily on mining, of all materials, for a vast majority of their GDP. When an economy relies so heavily on extracting natural resources, at an irreversible pace, it will cause immediate effects when those natural resources are no longer available.
When it comes to the social impact of our lab grown diamonds, we work to ensure that we provide what we can to our workers. By maintaining operations within the US, we do not disrupt foreign communities. We can provide a more straightforward and realistic view of how our production system really works. Due to the fact that lab grown diamonds can be formed in a matter of weeks and are closely monitored by specialists means that we can produce enough to fit our demand utilizing a smaller workplace, workforce, and environmental impact than it would take to fulfill the same demand with mined diamonds.
As newcomers to the diamond industry we recognize that there are a lot of problems currently associated with the world of diamonds. While our processes differ greatly from those of diamond mining, we know it will take a lot more to shift the perception of diamonds away from the horrors. We hope that our methods can offer a true alternative for those looking to fill their diamond needs without having to support aggression and destruction. The efforts of us at Jack Joseph, as well as other lab diamond growers, can shift public perception and lead to a shining future without the methods of the dark past.