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Tiffany Foundation Grant to Fund Feasibility Study on Fair Trade Diamonds

Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… The Tiffany & Co. Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to TransFair USA, the nation’s only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified products, to assess the feasibility of fair trade certification for diamonds.

TransFair will begin the study in early 2008 and investigate this possible new category, which would support the development efforts and reward best practices of diamond producers.

“Fair trade certified diamonds have the potential to deliver unprecedented benefits to populations currently experiencing severe disadvantages in the diamond trade,” said Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA.

These populations include both independent miners working in artisanal mining communities—more than a million of whom live on less than $1 per day—and wage laborers in larger, industrial-scale mining operations, who may have development needs and may potentially face exploitative labor practices, unfair wages, and severe health and workplace hazards in certain situations.

“As the U.S. is the single largest market for diamonds in the world, it is highly appropriate for TransFair USA to play a leading role in exploring the feasibility of whether the Fair Trade Certification model is transferable to this challenging industry. We look forward to collaborating with our global network of allies to address this critical issue in the complex environment of diamond mining and trading,” added Rice.

TransFair will explore the feasibility of developing a Fair Trade Certified standard for the diamond industry, which has long been criticized on social and environmental issues. The study will explore a certification system that could potentially provide significant benefits across the supply chain, thereby reducing conflict and improving workers’ rights; community relations; environmental, health and safety practices; all while aimed at improving the bottom line of participating miners and companies.

The Tiffany & Co. Foundation helps its company broaden the scope of its corporate giving efforts with grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the education and preservation of the arts and environmental conservation. Responsible mining efforts have been one of the primary means of fulfilling this mission.

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