De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver has paid tribute to citizens of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, where the company mines diamonds.
Speaking at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Cape Town, South Africa on 11 April 2019, Bruce said “The diamonds we mine do not belong to us, but instead to the people of these countries. Our stakeholders are the people of these countries, and this means we must create value for them”.
Bruce said that this is why De Beers Group has a responsibility to use the diamond revenue the company generates today to help its partner countries build their own forever. He said this would ensure they create a world in which they don’t rely on diamond revenues, but rather have a diversified economy, educated and trained entrepreneurs, opportunities for men and women alike, and a healthy environment in which wildlife and eco-systems can flourish. He highlighted that De Beers calls its sustainability work ‘Building Forever’, adding the company puts a tremendous amount of resource behind it in a number of different areas that include Protecting the Natural World as well as Standing with Women and Girls.
He further explained that De Beers Group has been in partnership with the Government of Botswana for more than 50 years, since diamonds were discovered, highlighting that the two shareholders have a 50/50 joint venture (Debswana), whilst 15% of the whole of De Beers Group is owned by the Botswana government.
“Because of our partnership, in Botswana, 81 cents of every dollar of the value of a diamond mined by us goes to Botswana, and diamonds represent up to a third of the country’s GDP. In 2001, our joint venture became the first mining company in the world to offer HIV/AIDS treatment, in addition to medical coverage, to all its employees and their partners. I’m very proud to say that in the last 10 years, this programme has had significant benefits.” he said.