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De Beers shareholders challenge company’s ‘conflict-free’ diamonds claim

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The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reportedly rejected requests that it formally investigate diamond mining company De Beers.

Shareholders of Anglo American, De Beers’ parent company, were the party challenging advertisements claiming De Beers and Forevermark diamonds are conflict-free.

The group calling itself Shareholders Against Blood Diamonds (SABD) lodged the complaint in June 2020.

A press release from the group claims to provide “irrefutable evidence that diamonds sold by the De Beers Group generate revenue used to directly and indirectly fund the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

According to SABD, the ASA did not dispute that De Beers diamonds fund human rights violations, but said that consumers would understand that the term ‘conflict-free’ refers only to the conditions in which the diamonds are mined.

SABD also accuses De Beers of allegedly deleting information from its website pertaining to donations to the Israeli military.

Speaking on behalf of the shareholders, Jenny Hall said: “De Beers’ diamond supply chain is enmeshed in one of the world’s most protracted and bloodiest conflict zones where the diamond industry is a significant source of funding for a regime guilty of gross human rights violations.

“De Beers’ marketing material clearly refers to the finished products being conflict-free and we believe the ASA is wrong to presume consumers would think otherwise.

“The jewellery industry doesn’t just turn a blind eye to Israel’s grave human rights violations; it facilitates them and covers them up by claiming diamonds that fund Israeli bloodshed and violence are conflict-free.”

Professional Jeweller reached out to De Beers for comment. David Johnson, head of corporate communications, said: “De Beers Group was informed by the ASA of this complaint and the outcome of the ASA’s review of it last week, and we respect the findings of the independent regulator on this matter.”

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