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As the world’s leading diamond company, De Beers Group is uniquely placed to drive positive change in the industry. It is also well positioned to assess the relationship between the diamond value chain and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By working with key partners, De Beers is continually exploring opportunities for engagement with, and contribution to, the SDGs. It aims to elevate discourse on the SDGs, raise awareness of the role diamonds play in sustainable development, and mobilise positive action across the industry.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The SDGs are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators, established by the UN in 2015. They are intended to shape the priorities, policies and actions of business, government and civil society in the period to 2030.

Setting out the 17 building blocks of the global sustainability agenda, the SDGs replace and expand upon the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by governments in 2001.

The SDGs cover a range of urgent issues, from poverty eradication to environmental protection. They are ambitious in their scope, and reflect a globally shared ambition to shape a transformational journey for human development.  

Some of the SDGs cut across a number of interconnected areas, but they broadly fall into three core categories – economic development, social development and inclusion, and environmental sustainability. Each goal is supported by a set of specific targets and indicators for measuring progress on the journey to 2030.

While governments need to take the lead in setting national priorities and committing public resources, collective action is key to achieving high-impact, scalable and sustainable solutions across the SDGs.

Governments, businesses, communities and individuals are all in this together.

Why the Sustainable Development Goals matter

With its global scale and diverse operations, the diamond industry has the potential to influence and impact all of the SDGs:

  • Economic: it contributes value to economies around the world, particularly in developing countries
  • Social: it employs millions of people in a wide range of businesses, bringing financial security and other benefits to communities where it operates
  • Environmental: its operations have an environmental impact, and a significant opportunity to embed environmental protection

In turn, the SDGs are of importance to the diamond industry. The success of diamond companies depends on the accountability of key players within the value chain regarding their contributions to sustainable development.

In this way, the SDGs provide an opportunity for businesses to translate development priorities into tangible action.

De Beers has been focusing on the issues the SDGs address for some time. During the past 15 years, the company has made good progress on its journey towards establishing more robust and long-term foundations for its sustainability activities.

But there is more to do.

Looking ahead to 2030, it is clear that incremental steps will not be sufficient. To achieve the scale of transformation required, everyone across the industry needs to think and go beyond business-as-usual.