De Beers Group has committed to completing 12 sustainability goals over the next decade that it says will improve ethical practices, protect the natural world, and accelerate equal opportunity.
The international diamond giant’s goals, announced in a news release, include achieving gender parity in its workforce, supporting 10,000 female entrepreneurs, engaging 10,000 girls in STEM, having carbon-neutral operations, and halving its water footprint by 2030.
De Beers also committed to providing the origin and impact of every diamond it discovers and sells, and extending its ethical, social and environmental standards.
De Beers Group chief executive Bruce Cleaver said the goals are in recognition of the United Nations’ call to address poverty, inequality, climate change and environmental degradation, among other global issues.
“We have both a unique opportunity and a profound responsibility to create lasting benefits for the people and places where diamonds are discovered,” Cleaver said.
“We are committed to supporting a lasting positive impact that will endure well beyond the discovery of our last diamond, and it is only by pushing ourselves to do more that we can maximise long-term benefits.”
In February 2018, advocacy group Human Rights Watch released a report outlining the negative impacts that gold and diamond mining can have across the world – including human rights abuses, pollution, and the displacement of Indigenous residents.
Last month, the group warned that major jewellery companies still weren’t doing enough to combat human rights and environmental abuses in their gold and diamond supply chains.
In 2016, the Wildlands League – a chapter of environmental group the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – sued De Beers Canada, alleging the company had failed to report levels of methylmercury in water near its Victor Diamond Mine. The northern Ontario mine is located near Attiwapiskat First Nation.
De Beers has denied the allegation.
According to the Timmins Press, a provincial court ruled in January that the case should proceed to trial.
De Beers is the world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems. It has eight mines in four countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Canada. That includes the Gahcho Kué mine in the Northwest Territories, a joint venture with Mountain Province Diamonds.