Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds
Third-Party Certification for Natural and Laboratory Grown Diamonds
What are Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds?
Consumers are increasingly demanding that the diamonds they purchase meet the highest standards of ethical and environmental responsibility, protecting people and the planet. SCS-007 Jewelry Sustainability Standard – Sustainability Rated Diamonds, the first comprehensive, multi-stakeholder sustainability standard developed for the diamond sector, satisfies this demand.
This groundbreaking certification standard applies to both natural and laboratory-grown diamonds, including any entity that handles the diamonds on their way to market. The standard establishes unprecedented benchmarks of performance and transparency, featuring: 1) stringent environmental, social and governance (ESG) achievement; 2) climate neutrality; 3) sustainable production practices with net zero impact; 4) comprehensive origin traceability for the highest possible source-to-market certainty; and 5) sustainability investments that support vulnerable communities, reduce net impacts further, and contribute to a safer world. All of this is backed by independent, third-party certification. No other standard provides this level of assurance to jewelry manufacturers, retailers or their customers.
5 Pillars of Achievement
- Verified Origin Traceability: Guaranteeing the origin of each certified diamond through advanced testing, gem identification protocols, surveillance audits and sampling across the supply chain.
- Twelve Principles of Ethical Stewardship: Adhering to comprehensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.
- Verified Climate Neutrality: Achieving true climate neutrality based on the most stringent climate protocols addressing both current and legacy emissions.
- Sustainable Production Practices: Eliminating or offsetting environmental and human health impacts.
- Sustainability Investments: Creating societal benefits through investments that uplift vulnerable communities, clean the air and water, protect the climate and protect endangered ecosystems.
- Producer and Handler Eligibility
- Technology Provider Eligibility
- Program Documents
Benefits for diamond industry participants include:
- Accreditation to use the Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond ecolabel.
- Climate Neutrality designation when benchmarks are achieved.
- Certificate of Achievement providing the transparency consumers are seeking, while describing significant social and environmental benchmarks achieved.
- Certification Report providing technical substantiation, describing every aspect of sustainability, and the evidence used as the basis of the certification.
- Demonstrated conformance with stringent international norms and customer expectations.
- Marketing assets for use on company webpages, in advertising, at point of sale, and in corporate marketing materials, conformant to SCS and regulatory guidelines.
- Built-in continuous improvement roadmap to support ongoing ESG leadership and achievement of Net Zero Impact Production goals.
- Highest confidence throughout the chain of custody based on use of proven testing and traceability technologies and practices.
Q: What is a Sustainability Rated Diamond?
A Sustainability Rated Diamond is a stone from an accredited natural or laboratory grown diamond production operation that has been evaluated against five pillars of sustainability achievement, and is found to be in full conformance with the requirements of the SCS-007 Jewelry Sustainability Standard – Sustainability Rated Diamonds.
Q: What are the five pillars of sustainability achievement?
- Verified origin traceability
- Twelve principles of ethical stewardship
- Verified climate neutrality
- Sustainable production practices
- Sustainability investments
Q: What were the main goals driving the development of this standard?
SCS-007 was developed with the following goals:
- Satisfying the expectations of sustainability-minded diamond jewelry consumers and stakeholders;
- Providing a common platform for natural and laboratory grown diamond producers alike to be recognized for their efforts to advance sustainability objectives within their operations;
- Engaging the entire chain of custody;
- Building upon existing initiatives in the diamond and jewelry sectors to enable participants to take the next logical step in demonstrating their social, environmental and governance commitments and accomplishments; and
- Providing a clear roadmap toward measurable sustainability outcomes.
Q: What makes SCS-007 a leadership standard?
SCS-007 picks up where other standards leave off, making it the most comprehensive standard for diamonds ever established. Under each of the five pillars, it establishes unparalleled benchmarks of performance:
- Testing protocols capable of tracking diamonds back to a specific mine shaft or piece of laboratory equipment, with sufficient checks and balances across the entire chain of custody from source to market, backed by thorough surveillance auditing and sampling, to achieve 99.9% origin assurance.
- Conformance with stringent environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria under twelve major principles of ethical stewardship.
- Climate neutrality conformance that encompass all greenhouse pollutants plus other major climate pollutants commonly overlooked, and addressing both current and legacy emissions to capture the complete climate footprint.
- Elimination or offsetting of impacts across the production life cycle, to reach net-zero impacts in at least three-quarters of environmental and human health impact categories.
- Sustainability investments that support artisanal and small-scale miners, provide a wide range of societal benefits, and further protect the environment and climate.
Q: What's the difference between certification and accreditation?
Individual diamonds are certified, and tracked from source to market through the chain of custody. Companies that produce or handle the diamonds are accredited, based on conformance with the Producer and Handler requirements of the Standard. Companies that provide testing and grading services are required to undergo technical accreditations to ensure competence in the delivery of these crucial services.
Q: What international guidance and norms are referenced by the standard?
The criteria in the SCS-007 standard reference numerous international documents that have been developed to provide guidance for best practice in social and environmental responsibility. Some examples of documents that informed the standard's development include: International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions and Recommendations (C14, C29, C87, C98, C100, C105, C106, C111, C132, C138, C146, C155, C176, C182 and C190); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas: Third Edition 2016; United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Respecting free, prior and informed consent: Practical guidance for governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples and local communities in relation to land acquisition, Annex II, 2014; United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; and several International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) standards in the 9000, 14000 and 45000 series.
Q: How was the SCS-007 standard developed?
SCS-007 was developed under an international, multi-stakeholder process facilitated by SCS Standards, the non-profit standards development arm of Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. Stakeholders were recruited from multiple sectors, including diamond production, diamond handling and retail, diamond grading and technology, academia, and civil society. A series of meetings were held in which successive iterations of the standard were marked up, from Working Draft to Committee Draft to Final Draft. A 60-day public consultation period was also conducted to obtain feedback from outside stakeholders and interested parties. All comments were considered before the completion of the Final Standard.
Both natural and laboratory-grown diamonds can be certified under this unified industry standard, reinforcing the companies who are spearheading best practices in both realms.
All companies that physically handle the diamond from source to market are eligible to be accredited to handle and sell certified diamonds, provided that they meet the Producer or Handler requirements of the standard. This accreditation demonstrates industry leadership in tackling key environmental, social, governance and performance issues of concern to consumers and stakeholders, while maintaining a strict chain of custody to assure traceability. Eligible companies include:
- Cutters and polishers
- Recycled diamond suppliers
- Jewelry manufacturers
Click here to apply to become an accredited retailer.
Companies providing diamond testing and inspection services as part of the SCS-007 Origin Traceability Assurance protocols are eligible for technical accreditation, including Forensic Assurance Conformity Centers and Grading Laboratories. Such companies must demonstrate conformance with the applicable requirements of the Standard and competence in conducting their services consistent with the SCS-007 Provenance Certification Laboratory Accreditation Manual.
Technical Accreditation Process:
Once SCS and the Applicant sign a confidentiality agreement and agree on a scope of work, the process is initiated:
- Applicant provides information about the details of its process.
- SCS audits the information and assesses conformance to applicable provisions of the Standard and to the Accreditation Manual, then issues preliminary findings.
- Applicant has 60 days to correct any observed non-conformities.
- Upon demonstrating conformance, the Applicant receives a provisional Certificate of Accreditation.
- SCS completes market surveillance sampling and conformity testing of diamonds, using trace element fingerprint testing, for independent verification.
- Applicant receives final Certificate of Accreditation after 12 months if no testing errors are found.
Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.