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What is the New SCS Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond?

One of the main selling points of lab-grown diamonds among today’s environmentally conscious, socially responsible consumer is the ethics factor.

These consumers know all about the diamond industry’s history of destructive and exploitative practices, and they want the beauty of diamonds without having to contribute to such a system. As a result, the mined diamond industry has implemented many high-profile reforms to its environmental practices and business relationships with governments and local communities. Many lab-grown diamond companies, on the other hand, have responded to consumer demand for conflict-free, sustainable diamonds by advertising their diamonds as the ethical and clean alternative: ethical in the sense that no labor is exploited in their extraction, and clean in the sense that the natural world isn’t being destroyed in the process.

But how can consumers be sure of these claims? It isn’t always the case that workers in the lab-grown diamond industry are treated any better than workers in the mined-diamond industry, and some diamond labs are powered by coal-fired power plants, which are no more environmentally sustainable than mining operations. So to give consumers the confidence that lab-grown diamonds are indeed the ethical choice, SCS Global Services has introduced the Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond.

According to their website, the SCS-007 Jewelry Sustainability Standard, is “the first comprehensive, multi-stakeholder sustainability standard developed for the diamond sector…. 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.” The site goes on to note that “No other standard provides this level of assurance to jewelry manufacturers, retailers or their customers.”

SCS provides third-party sustainability verification services to a number of industries, from agriculture to logging to supply chain companies. They are perhaps best known in the jewelry industry for their Fairmined Gold and Silver Certification. They are now bringing their nearly 40 years of expertise in environmental claim verification to the diamond industry. To attain SCS-007 certification, diamonds are evaluated on five factors:

  • Verified origin traceability

  • Adherence to environmental, social, and governance requirements

  • Verified climate neutrality

  • Sustainable production practices

  • Sustainable investment practices that “uplift vulnerable communities, clean the air and water, protect the climate and protect endangered ecosystems”

The certification applies to both mined and lab-grown diamonds, but the lab-grown sector has been quicker to see the value of such a certification. There can be a fair bit of greenwashing among lab-grown diamond growers and retailers, and mining companies have pushed back against the environmental claims of diamond growers. This certification gives manufacturers and retailers independent verification of their claims and gives consumers the confidence to buy diamonds knowing that they’ve been grown or mined ethically and sustainably.

WD Lab Grown Diamonds was the first company to earn SCS Sustainable Diamond Certification. WD CEO Sue Rechner said, "This accomplishment reflects our wholehearted commitment to safeguarding the environment, protecting the human rights of workers and communities, and providing reassurance to the modern consumer with [a] fully traceable, guaranteed conflict-free product."

Stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain, from mining or growing companies to retailers, can apply for certification. A number of retailers have received accreditation under the SCS-007 standard in order to give their customers the confidence that they are making an ethical choice. For Latitude Diamonds, the certification process “was an opportunity to reflect on our purpose” and their desire to make progress, “however big or however small, toward a more beautiful future for people and planet.”

Valley Rose, another retailer accredited under the SCS-007 standard, creates “fine jewelry that honors the Earth.” They sought this certification “because it is our ethos to bring you beauty while also protecting people and the planet.”

Affordability is perhaps what makes lab-grown diamonds most attractive to consumers, but for consumers who can choose between mined and lab-grown diamonds, the ethical and environmental considerations may push them in one direction or another. Selling SCS certified diamonds, whether mined or lab-grown, will give consumers the confidence that this purchase that will enrich their own lives isn’t depleting the environment or worsening lives elsewhere.

To learn more about the SCS-007 standard, visit SCS Global Services and Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds.