Focus on


As part of its Building Forever program, De Beers commits to continue enabling access to world-class healthcare for community members through the hospitals around its mining operations in Botswana and Namibia through 2030 and beyond. (Photo courtesy of De Beers)



De Beers has announced a set of ambitious sustainability objectives, which the company says are designed to ensure a positive and lasting impact for the communities it serves and the natural world in which it operates. The 12 “Building Forever” goals focus on leading ethical practices across the industry, partnering with the communities, protecting the natural environment and accelerating equal opportunity

In a statement released by the diamond producer, De Beers said the goals were developed to galvanize its employees, partners and consumers around the world – from the four countries in which it mines diamonds to the more than 30 countries where its De Beers Jewellers and Forevermark brands are found. The purpose, it says, is to achieve a shared vision for a better future.

Among the specific objectives listed are achieving gender parity throughout the De Beers workforce, supporting 10,000 women entrepreneurs in its diamond producing partner countries, being carbon neutral within its own operations by 2030, and reducing its water footprint by 50 percent.

 “As the world’s leading diamond company, and in recognition of the United Nations’ call for a ‘Decade of Action’ to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, we have both a unique opportunity and a profound responsibility to create lasting benefits for the people and places where diamonds are discovered,” said Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO. “This is why our Building Forever sustainability framework is central to our business strategy, and why we have set ourselves these 12 ambitious goals. We are committed to supporting a lasting positive impact that will endure well beyond the discovery of our last diamond, and it is only by pushing ourselves to do more that we can maximise long-term benefits.”


Speaking to fashion-industry trade journal Women’s Wear Daily, David Prager, Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs at De Beeers, noted that, from a sustainability perspective, a mining company has a whole different set of environmental challenges than fashion, retail or luxury goods firms. The problem is not waste, he said, but rather the use of fossil fuels on the mining sites. “Large, industrial-scale mining involves fleets of trucks and intensive energy use, and so we have to transition away from fossil fuels.”

Prager said that De Beers has developed a three R’s strategy – reducing, replacing and recovering, shifting where possible from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, introducing hydrogen-powered trucks, and building solar and wind farms around its mines in southern Africa.

Prager stressed De Beers’ environmental goals will support its partners down the distribution chain, and in particular the luxury brands that are using its diamonds.

De Beers’ program includes achieving gender parity throughout its workforce. (Photo courtesy of De Beers)

“We think it’s a really powerful proposition to let these brands know that we are on this pathway to reduce our emissions as they reduce theirs. They’ll be looking for suppliers that have made a commitment around their own carbon neutrality,” he stated.

De Beers is also urging its business partners to join its sustainability strategy. In July, nine sightholders committed to becoming carbon neutral in the medium term, and to

develop “concrete roadmaps” to reduce carbon emissions. This would involve improving transport and distribution, shifting to renewable energy sources, cutting down on air travel, and reducing plastic, paper and water waste on the factory floor.

As part of its conservation program, De Beers organized the transfer of some 200 elephants from the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve, which can only accommodate 60 elephants adequately, to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique. (Photo courtesy of De Beers)


Not only environmental sustainability is being targeted, but social and economic sustainability in the mining countries is also being stressed.

De Beers has committed to ensuring that all schools in its our southern African host communities will be in the top 30 percent of state schools nationally, and by 2030 they will be in the top 20.

 The company said it would also support 10,000 women entrepreneurs, engage 10,000 girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, to increase the diversity of creative talent in the diamond jewellery sector.

By 2025, the company says it will achieve 30 percent women’s representation across its workforce and 40 percent women’s representation in senior roles.

De Beers said that will work alongside key organisations that provide guidance and expertise as the company pursues its 2030 goals, including Fauna and Flora International, Peace Parks Foundation, UN Women, WomEng, Stanford Graduate School of Business and government partners.