Groups including GJEPC Boycott WDC Meeting

wdcAntwerp: Eight prominent industry groups are boycotting the upcoming World Diamond Council in Antwerp, out of concern that the group is widening its mandate beyond conflict diamonds.

The groups, led by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), expressed particular concern about a survey done by the group, conducted by Belgian consulting firm Gemdax. They characterized the survey, which will be presented in a session on the industry’s challenges, as “biased,” charging it was conducted “without consulting 98 percent of the industry.”

The brainstorming session is meant to take “a broad view of the various ethical, legal, and financial challenges facing the KP, including the risks related to rough diamond trading mentioned in a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report earlier this year,” according to the WDC.

The groups, which include India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses, the Bharat Diamond Bourse, the Israel Diamond Exchange, the Israel Diamond Institute, the Dubai Diamond Exchange, and the World Jewellery Confederation, have expressed concern that the survey and session could lead to a broadening of the WDC’s mandate beyond representing the industry in front of the Kimberley Process.

“[We resolve] not to participate in this annual general meeting of the WDC until the direction that the current leadership intends to take is satisfactorily explained,” said the group letter.

The WDC and president Edward Asscher could not be reached for comment. However, one organization source stressed that the survey had been approved by the membership prior to the meeting.

At press time, no other members announced plans to boycott the meeting, which will feature an address by De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier.