JCK's Rob Bates reports on his interview from JCK Las Vegas with vice president of Russian diamond producer Alrosa, Andrey Polyakov, who recently took over the leadership of the World Diamond Council (WDC). The main talking points are, "whether the KP will ever include human rights language and just what Alrosa thinks about synthetics", as well as the ongoing dispute between current KP chair United Arab Emirates and the civil society coalition. Concerning the latter, Polyakov said, "Both the NGOs and the KP chair are doing a great job. I don’t want a situation where one of the diamond centers will start a fight with NGOs. It is useless, and everybody will lose. We want a positive agenda ... We need to focus on the common agenda that we do have. My mission is to try and provide an opportunity for communication. The absence of any observers hurts the KP. The NGOs remain involved in KP’s everyday workings, in working groups, in conference calls, in review missions. We should find a way to get them back to full participation."
To Bates' question about the sometimes contentious fact that that the KP mandate does not include "so-called human rights language", Polyakov responded, "The idea of the KP was very narrow: to create a platform or mechanism to stop conflicts fueled by diamonds. The mission has been completely accomplished. There is only now an issue in Central African Republic. Do we need to talk more inside the industry about how to provide confidence in all spheres—labor rights and human rights and child labor? Of course we should. We as an industry should provide more guarantees to the final consumer. But that is the industry’s responsibility ... The KP is the KP, with a narrow mandate: to prevent conflict that may be fueled by diamonds. The industry is the industry. Mostly, consumer confidence is the industry’s responsibility." On whether Alrosa would increase its own promotional activities, he stated, "Potentially, we may do some exercises that provide assurances as to the origin of our diamonds. We have found that may be commercially interesting. But that is not our core business. If we do it, it will be step-by-step. Our current strategy is simple but efficient."
Finally, when asked his view of synthetic diamonds, Polyakov replied, "The only way is to divide the market. Some people buy and wear Swarovski crystals. Why not? The same will go for synthetics. The problem is illegal mixing of natural and synthetic diamonds. We are trying to do what we can, by providing detection technology, and providing a separate transparent supply chain for manufacturers and retailers."