SCS Global Services (SCS) announces the launch of a groundbreaking pilot to audit and analyze lab grown diamonds against a stringent set of sustainability criteria. The pilot audits follow the decision announced earlier this year by the Lab Grown Diamond Council to retain SCS, an internationally recognized third-party certifier and standards developer, to create the world’s first independent ‘product’ sustainability certification standard for diamonds.
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. The sustainability performance criteria address key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including a commitment to becoming climate neutral. These criteria will be reviewed through a multi-stakeholder process, informed by the results of the pilot assessments. A multi-stakeholder Standard Review Committee is being established to oversee the process, which will include academia, producers, retailers, nonprofit organizations, 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.”
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 jewelry industries, found that more than 85% of jewelry purchasers view independent, third-party verification of the social and environmental impact of any diamond they consider purchasing as important.
Lab grown diamonds are physically identical to mined diamonds. They are currently produced under proprietary laboratory processes know as High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), both of which are extremely energy intensive. The sustainability standard, while addressing energy consumption, will also address a wide range of metrics.
Several companies have committed as early adopters 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 Mr. Mathuram of SCS, noting that this will put them squarely on the path toward certification. Pilot participants and supporters include:
Leon Peres, CEO of Green Rocks, a vertically integrated high-tech grower and old-world diamond cutter:
“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 respected international purveyor of gemstones and committed producer of lab created diamonds:
“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, and a foremost manufacturer of diamond-studded jewelry focused on export for major global retailers:
“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 with the highest yield in the industry:
“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, and the retail leader in lab grown diamonds:
“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:
“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.”