CSR Coming of Age as Social Responsibility Becomes New NormalOctober 12, 17
The CSR acronym has gained increasing attention in the diamond and jewelry industries in recent years. Indeed, corporate social responsibility has become something of a no-brainer. No longer can businesses assume their only goal is to make a profit, they must also invest in attracting and retaining consumers with a strong CSR element.
Buyers are more socially aware than they have ever been, and are interested in brands which are transparent in their business dealings – both with their suppliers and customers. Investing in social projects that bring good to workers as well as being environmental responsibility is the new normal as far as many consumers are concerned – especially the vital Millennial buyers that the diamond industry is trying to attract. Improving local communities as well as internal company operations to create healthy people, ecosystems and planet are where it's at.
There may be a concern among the management of some publicly owned businesses that investors will not be enamored with CST due to the cost of sustainability work since there is a cost involved and that has a subsequent impact on profits. However, since sustainability is now everywhere and a required part of business operations, brands have little choice but to ensure such efforts are made. The advantages of putting such policies into effect outweigh any financial risks, meaning that ethical and sustainable practices are clearly in the interest of investors in the long-term.
Attendees of a recent conference in London called Positive Luxury heard from the De Beers’ Forevermark brand's head of communications Jo Blake who was on a “Responsible Business in the Luxury Industry” panel featuring executives in the diamond, retail and watchmaking sectors, who explained about the work that Forevermark does in the CSR space and its importance.
Sustainability is a vital element of its work, particularly since millennials are often wary of diamonds and their origins. Forevermark promotes transparency in its ethical diamond sourcing and pipeline through its identification inscriptions that provide details of a stone’s journey from mine to retailer.
Blake also explained about the efforts Forevermark takes in its business dealings that provide a return for diamond-producing communities, the environment and its protection of the ecosystem. Its CSR work, as with the De Beers group overall, includes health care provision, education and business loans for local entrepreneurs.
These elements and others, I'm sure, will be exhaustively debated at the 3rd Dubai Diamond Conference taking place at the start of next week where the panel discussion on sustainability will be the first of half a dozen major issues to debated at the two-day gathering., and where the importance of the sustainability topic is evidenced by the caliber of global industry figures who will be taking part: Global Compact Foundation Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart; World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom; Responsible Jewellery Council Executive Director Andrew Bone; De Beers Group Head of Government and Industry Relations Feriel Zerouki; CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation President, President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri; Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya; and Signet Jewelers Ltd. Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, David Bouffard.
Unfortunately, the phrase "corporate social responsibility" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, and that may prevent some customers from appreciating the work companies do in the CSR sphere. However, it is vital that consumers know about these efforts and that they become a part of the diamond-jewelry buying story.