The following case studies illustrate different SDG contributions across the value chain. They show how collaboration can help to leverage additional resources and enhance impact.
Empowering entrepreneurs to reshape the Botswana economy
That’s why De Beers Group, Anglo American, Debswana and the Government of the Republic of Botswana joined forces in 2014 to create the Tokafala Enterprise Development Programme.
This US$8 million, five-year programme aims to reduce the country’s dependence on diamond mining by building a strong base of entrepreneurs to help create jobs across various sectors.
Tokafala gives promising micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) access to finance, business advice and markets.
In the three years to 2017, 260 participating enterprises have grown their revenues by 39 per cent, with micro businesses outperforming and growing by 260 per cent.
Altogether, participants employ around 2,000 people. Since launch, they’ve created 284 jobs, boosting employment in sectors including industrial goods, consumer goods and professional services. Also encouraging is that around 45 per cent of the businesses are owned by women and 20 per cent by young people.
The next phase of Tokafala is now under development, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the main partners. The MoU establishes principles of cooperation for the expansion of the programme to support further MSME growth in Botswana, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas.
Empowering women in southern Asia through manufacturing
Year founded: 1967
Operations: Diamond cutting and polishing
Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Participation by working-age women in the workforce of southern Asia is just 28.5 per cent, the third lowest of all regions across the world.
As a result, women are often more reliant on the economic support of their male counterparts, while those in employment are more likely to be exposed to dangerous or insecure employment.
In the late 1980s, Dimexon started prioritising female recruitment and training to promote women’s economic empowerment. At the time, few employers in India had a significant female workforce.
Today, with a workforce close to 90 per cent female, Dimexon is one of the largest employers of women in the diamond industry in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Dimexon hires women after they graduate from high school and builds their capabilities through a six-month in-house technical and workplace training programme.
As well as the practical skills of cutting and polishing diamonds, they also receive training in employment rights and workplace culture.
In addition, the company provides management training programmes that have enabled many women to progress to administrative and management positions.
This education programme extends beyond the workplace, with ongoing guidance on preventative health measures and bi-monthly check-ups available at all factories.
The company’s ongoing investment ensures its female employees have the skills required to develop rewarding careers and provide a good standard of living and education for their families.
Identifying and developing the leaders of the future
More than 60 per cent of people in Sub-Saharan Africa are under the age of 24.
The region’s ability to benefit from this ‘demographic dividend’ relies on the ability of its young people to find gainful employment. But youth unemployment rates are around 60 per cent and those in work tend to be in low-paid and often low-skilled jobs.
It’s critical that young people gain the skills they need to succeed as the entrepreneurs and employers of the future.
To help address this challenge, De Beers Botswana supports the Shining Light Awards. This initiative aims to inspire creativity in jewellery design and develop essential business skills among the next generation in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
The competition is an example of De Beers’ efforts to support economic diversification and job creation. In particular, De Beers works in close partnership with diamond industry peers and governments to invest in high-potential sectors.
Shining Light contestants need to produce beautiful and innovative designs. But they also need to demonstrate their business acumen by explaining how they would commercialise their concepts.
The top 15 entries are selected. While preparing for their final presentation, contestants receive coaching on areas like design, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
Three finalists are unveiled at the grand finale, before the overall winner is awarded a year’s training at a leading Milan design house, and an internship with Forevermark’s design team.
Reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on employees and communities
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa has always been a threat for De Beers Group's employees, as well as their families and communities.
The full impact of the disease became apparent in the late 1990s in Debswana, a partnership company between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Botswana.
Early retirements and productivity losses became the norm. And, tragically, 31 per cent of HIV-positive employees died from the disease.
To tackle this serious health challenge, in 2001 Debswana unveiled its new HIV/AIDS policy and HIV Disease Management Programme. It was the world’s first such workplace initiative. By 2003, the programme had also been expanded to the company’s operations in Namibia and South Africa.
Comprising prevention, treatment, care and support, the programme has had a dramatic impact. From 30 per cent in 1996, the De Beers employee fatality rate dropped to less than one per cent in 2004.
Recently, De Beers has also embraced the World Health Organisation’s campaign to get 90 per cent of employees to know their status, 90 per cent of HIV-positive employees to be enrolled in a treatment plan, and 90 per cent of those on a plan to achieve viral suppression.
In 2016, the prevalence of the disease among employees stood at 11 per cent, below the national average in Botswana (22 per cent), Namibia (13 per cent) and South Africa (19 per cent).
The proportion of employees knowing their HIV status also reached 82 per cent in 2016 – up from 25 per cent just a year earlier.
Providing vocational and technical training for Indian youth
Year founded: 1964
Operations: Diamond cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing
In a country where two-thirds of its 1.3 billion inhabitants are under the age of 35, a high proportion of India’s vast youth population don’t have the skills to succeed in a fast-changing economy.
A large number of young people are employed in casual labour. Low-skilled jobs are progressively being automated, with a lack of new jobs being created to replace these.
In 2014, to help address these challenges, Shree Ramkrishna Exports (SRK) launched the Research and Knowledge Institute of Diamonds (SRKID) in Surat, an important diamond centre in the Gujarat region.
As well as undertaking dedicated diamond research, the Institute provides young people looking to enter the workforce with access to short-term vocational training in core diamond manufacturing.
Having identified a gap in industry training, from the outset the company aimed to combine theoretical and practical approaches. The idea was to create a relevant training platform for young people and enable them to acquire the technical expertise required by prospective employers.
SRKID accepts students from all academic backgrounds. Courses are extended to students from all backgrounds, targeting not only unskilled young people, but also industry professionals interested in enhancing their knowledge and skills. They cover areas such as cutting, polishing and grading diamonds.
The Government of Gujarat has formally recognised SRKID as an Industrial Kaushalya Vardhan Kendran – a vocational training institute that develops the skills of young people, particularly those from rural areas. As a result, all SRKID graduates receive a formal certificate from the Gujarat Council of Vocational Training.
Since 2014, nearly 850 young people have been trained in diamond cutting and polishing, and the majority have gone on to be employed by SRK. In this way, the programme not only helps to boost learning and skills, but also generates employment and economic growth.
Driving business growth through employee development
Year founded: 1929
Operations: Diamond sourcing, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing and retail
Location: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and other markets
Given the rapid rise in automation, and the skills-gap among graduates and employees, the goal of ‘employment and decent work for all’ remains a major challenge in China.
The company Chow Tai Fook, however, is demonstrating how targeted employee development can drive sustainable business growth.
It attributes much of its success to its on-the-job training for employees at all levels of the business. Up to March 2016, Chow Tai Fook had provided 739,000 hours of employee training via more than 3,600 courses.
In 2015, the company went even further with the launch of the Chow Tai Fook Academy. The Academy has increased the delivery of training, with an emphasis on meeting the needs of the company’s younger employees.
Some courses are job-specific, while others reflect a broader approach to developing entrepreneurial skills. A six-month programme, for example, might include a focus on communication, customer service and project-management capabilities, alongside production, financial and legal issues.
The company also offers employees professional recognition through accredited gemstone courses, delivered in partnership with the Government of Hong Kong and the Gemological Institute of America.
During 2016, more than 800 employees gained government-recognised qualifications in jewellery, watch and clock products.
Developing carbon-neutral mining in Southern Africa
From severe weather events to shrinking glaciers, the effects of climate change are in evidence around the world. According to scientists, they are likely to continue long into the future.
Reducing carbon emissions is critical to tackling climate change. And as part of its commitment in this area, De Beers Group is working towards being carbon neutral by 2030.
In 2015, the company established Project Minera to explore the possibilities of carbon-neutral mining. In particular, Project Minera aims to tap the potential of kimberlite, a diamond-bearing rock that captures carbon dioxide through a process known as ‘mineral carbonation’.
The Project Minera team is currently trialling carbonation technologies to gain a better understanding of the kimberlite sequestration process.
Project Minera is being carried out over several phases, and includes feasibility studies, qualitative and quantitative assessments, and small-scale pilot projects.
If laboratory testing proves successful, the project will enable De Beers to significantly enhance its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And if carbon capture by mineral carbonation becomes eligible for carbon credits, it could also generate substantial savings for the company.
A strategy for success in carbon reduction
Year founded: 1967
Operations: Sourcing and selling rough diamonds, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing
Location: 12 countries including Belgium, China and India
International diamond and jewellery business, Rosy Blue, has a 50-year history in the industry. In 2010, in an effort to reduce its environmental impact, it launched the ‘Going Green’ strategy to engage its workforce and drive action on climate change.
As part of the strategy, Rosy Blue initiated a series of regular energy audits. Providing data on a range of areas, these audits allow the company to monitor and manage its environmental impacts.
The company also works closely with the Carbon Trust to deliver tailored energy management training for factory managers and set emission reduction targets for the business.
These initiatives have led to various practical measures to reduce energy consumption. In 2016, the company reported a carbon footprint of 7,270 tonnes of CO2. This was a four per cent decrease over 2015 figures and an impressive 28 per cent reduction since 2012.
Conserving coral to protect the marine ecosystem
Year founded: 1837
Operations: Global retailer and manufacturer of jewellery and luxury accessories
Location: 313 Tiffany & Co. stores in 28 countries; diamond cutting and polishing and jewellery manufacturing operations in the United States, Belgium, Botswana, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Mauritius and Vietnam
It’s well known that the world’s coral reefs are under threat. But even today, only three per cent of the world’s oceans are fully protected.
One company that believes more needs to be done is Tiffany & Co. In 2004, it became one of the world’s first jewellery businesses to stop using coral in its products.
For many years, Tiffany & Co has been raising awareness of the need for coral conservation. This is particularly important given the key role coral plays in supporting marine biodiversity and protecting coastlines.
The company uses its voice and profile to inform consumers about the importance of protecting reefs, and urges others in the jewellery and home décor industries to act.
At the same time, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation is actively involved in coral conservation as part of its wider mission to preserve the world’s most treasured landscapes and seascapes through two key strategies.
First, the Foundation educates groups that have an incentive to maintain healthy oceans. Second, it advances cutting-edge research and reef-management strategies, enabling the long-term resilience of coral.
Since the Tiffany & Co. Foundation made its first coral conservation grant in 2000, it has awarded nearly US$20 million to organisations engaged in research, education and protection.
By the end of 2016, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation had supported the development of marine protected areas covering approximately 6.7 million square kilometres, nearly ten times the size of Texas.
Recently, the Foundation joined forces with other prominent funders to support the global ‘50 Reefs’ initiative, which identifies, promotes and protects the world’s 50 most important reefs.