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January 17, 2007

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Surely clean diamonds have to fall within the radar screen of what constitutes "ethical fashion". At a time when so many are doing so much to make the diamond industry ethical, the more encouragement the better. It is ironic that the continued tainting of diamonds as unethical harms those who rely on it the most, the honest, hard working people in the developing world.

If you check around this blog you'll see that I recently got engaged and opted for a Canadian conflict-free diamond. Although even this option carries with it some risk, I think the African diamond trade has not yet proven the process they have in place is as "clean." Not just from a conflict point of view, but also from a labor and environmental point of view. I'm glad that the company I chose happens to also donate a portion of its proceeds to an African non-profit.

The argument about hard-working people is compelling on the surface, but considering how very little of the profits those people actually extract from their work, it seems like more of a case of perpetuating worker exploitation.

Moreover, I'm sure, for example, that those who work in a slaughterhouse work very hard and need the money from their jobs too. But it doesn't outweigh my decision to eschew contributing to the industry for which they work. If an industry is corrupt or harmful, and the very very few in that industry are the ones that reap the vast majority of the profits...well, there are other ways to support hard-working people.

I do believe making any ethical diamond choice...whether my route, or specifically asking out loud for diamonds that are certified clean via the Kimberly Process is a way of sending a message to the market, and encouraging the corporate interests that there is profit in doing business the ethical way.

Thanks for your comment.

Ethical, green and vegan are necessarily all the same. It's a complex issue, especially with shoes, choosing a vegan shoe that is plastic (will pollute massively to get to market and for about 1000 years after your dead, and if it is from payless has been made by slave-labour) over an animal product that will bio-degrade and is more likely to have been made by paid skilled labourers but is against you personal principal.
Check out the ethical shoe page at www.conscientiousshopper.com.au it has information on the issue and a brand that is a rare find because it fits most prinicipals.

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