Speaking at the Diamond Conference in Gaborone, Botswana, De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver, answered a range of questions that are vital to the fast-changing diamond industry.
Here is what he had to say:
- How has the diamond industry has managed to sustain its success over the years?
- Why has Botswana managed to generate so much diamond success when many other countries have struggled to maximise the benefits of their diamonds?
- What will be important in future if we are to maintain success?
The answer, as is so often the case with simple-looking questions, is in fact complex. Success requires a combination of many different things, all of which depend on the efforts of a great many people and organisations.
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At this year’s event, we seek to explore some of these key ingredients for success in more detail, and to investigate what we need to consider for the future.
Today we will be examining this subject through the lens of what you might call the ‘4Cs of success for the diamond ecosystem:
These 4Cs are important because it is only by understanding the consumer and the commercial landscape in which we operate that we can maintain healthy diamond demand; but if that demand does not translate to revenues that can be invested in diamond producing countries for the purpose of building communities and stimulating economic opportunity through industrial clusters, then there will be no sustainability of supply to meet that demand.
If we cannot find a way to ensure the key players within the sector collaborate and all pull in the same direction, then not only will we be unable to achieve our common goal, but a common goal would not even exist.
So, a keen focus on each of these topics has underpinned the development of the diamond industry in Botswana, and looking at them more closely can provide us with valuable insight into what we need to think about to drive further positive development.
And this becomes even more important as the world around us changes faster than ever before.
With changes in technology, social norms, attitudes and behaviours, we are standing on the cusp of a new diamond world.
But what will this new diamond world look like?
We know that it will be a world of opportunity if we make the right choices and investments because the long-term fundamentals for diamonds are undeniable.
There will be a stable to declining supply of diamonds in the future as older mines produce less as they go underground and approach the end of their life.
At the same time, given the right marketing strategies, demand for diamonds will continue to increase.
The young generations – known as Millennials and Gen-Z – are already the largest purchases of diamonds worldwide.
As these consumers reach financial maturity, as female self-purchasing continues to grow, and as 100 million new households enter China’s middle class over the next decade – consumer demand has the potential to power an industry expansion.
But while the new diamond world will be alive with opportunities, the ways in which we capture those opportunities will need to evolve.
Because the new diamond world will be an intelligent, connected world of insights and innovation.
We therefore need to understand the interaction between all parts of the diamond value chain, from our end consumer and all the way through the pipeline, better than ever before.
The new diamond world will also be one in which consumers have full trust that the products they buy are delivering real value to the places from which they originate.
As such, the new diamond world will need to be one where we work even more closely with diamond communities to convert their finite resource into infinite positive outcomes.
The new diamond world will also be defined by enhanced efficiency and technological innovation.
Our focus must therefore be on developing and growing industrial clusters that support the developments that will enable the diamond sector to compete with other fast-moving industries.
And as a result of all this, the new diamond world will also focus on bringing innovative, ethical, and interesting products to consumers from brands that they are proud to wear.
But all of this depends on collaboration. None of it will be possible to deliver through one part of the value chain acting alone.
Collaboration has underpinned the diamond industry’s success for decades, and this is one thing that we can be confident will never change.
And there are many forms of collaboration that will be necessary in the new diamond world:
Collaborating to ensure mutually beneficial relationships for businesses and communities.
Collaborating with downstream entities to understand how the consumer sector is evolving and what information is available to inform any changes to upstream approaches.
Collaborating with environmental agencies and experts to ensure best practice is applied in the management of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
Collaborating with innovations partners, both inside and outside the diamond sector, to understand the latest trends in technology and new ways of thinking that can support progress and enhance competitiveness.
Collaborating to protect diamond equity and to ensure all stakeholders understand the truth about products such as laboratory-grown diamonds, especially when there is so much misinformation in the public domain.
And of course, collaboration between diamond businesses and diamond producing country governments to maintain long-lasting and meaningful relationships that form the bedrock of supply for the wider industry.
As diamonds will continue to play such a central role in Botswana’s ongoing development, this is both a logical and creative approach to combining the requirements of statesmanship and industry leadership.
As Botswana’s dedicated partner for more than 50 years, I am proud to say that every man and woman across De Beers Group is committed to turning the vision for the nation into a lasting reality.