De Beers Group Reports on Progress Towards ‘Building Forever’ Sustainability Goals

De Beers Group recently announced the progress towards its ‘Building Forever’ sustainability goals, with key highlights including achieving a target to engage 5,000 women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) two years early, agreeing to establish a flagship Diamonds For Development Fund in Botswana, progressing key renewable energy projects in support of recently-validated science-based emission reduction targets, and scaling the development of Tracr, the pioneering diamond traceability platform.

Established in 2020, ‘Building Forever’ is De Beers Group’s blueprint seeking to create a positive and sustainable impact for the people and places where its diamonds are discovered, closely aligned with stakeholder priorities. It encompasses four key focus areas where the company is working to support meaningful progress within its partner countries and the wider natural diamond value chain: leading ethical practices, partnering for thriving communities, protecting the natural world, and accelerating equal opportunity.

During 2023, De Beers continued to strengthen its relationships with government partners and a wide range of non-governmental organisations to support sustainable development outcomes in host communities. A major achievement was announcing a shared commitment with the Government of Botswana to set up a Diamonds for Development Fund as part of the agreement on a new 10-year sales agreement. With De Beers pledging an initial one billion Pula (~US$75 million), the Fund aims to support the country’s emerging knowledge-based economy and accelerate its long-term economic diversification.

Recognising the potential for increased gender parity to support economic growth, productivity, and resilience within host communities, De Beers also made significant strides towards advancing women and girls in its partner countries. This included achieving an interim target – two years early – of engaging 5,000 young women and girls in STEM activities through school workshops, undergraduate fellowships, scholarships and mentoring by 2025. The EntreprenHER programme, which aims to support women entrepreneurs in southern Africa to grow their businesses, also continued during 2023. The programme has supported 2,645 women business owners since launching in 2018 and a three-year extension of the programme was also approved.

In confronting pressing climate-related priorities, De Beers also progressed key renewable energy projects in line with its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, which were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) during 2023. This included working with Envusa Energy (a joint venture between Anglo American plc and EDF Renewables) to develop renewable energy infrastructure to provide 48 MW of power to the company’s Venetia mine in South Africa from 2025 and progressing planning for a 34 MW wind farm in Namibia. De Beers also held its inaugural Scope 3 supplier summit, mandating carbon reporting for the company’s Sightholders and securing commitments with key suppliers to work on aligned GHG reduction roadmaps.

In addition, De Beers continues to enhance its efforts on diamond provenance and traceability, a critical priority for the company, consumers and the industry at large. In 2023, De Beers expanded the pioneering blockchain platform, Tracr, opening it up to the wider industry and enabling participants to record a diamond’s journey from source to store. De Beers is now registering more than two-thirds of its global production by value on the platform, with 1.5 million individual diamonds registered during 2023, bringing the total registered on Tracr to two million. A range of key industry businesses also joined the platform in 2023.

Al Cook, Chief Executive Officer of De Beers Group, said: “Every stage of a natural diamond’s journey presents an opportunity to create a positive impact. We’ve long understood this at De Beers and it’s why our sustainability efforts are so closely aligned with the sustainable development priorities of our partner countries. Natural diamonds are a vital source of economic development for many millions of people. Through Building Forever, we’re working to ensure that every diamond we discover benefits the people and place it came from, with a priority focus on supporting community resilience, advancing women and girls and protecting nature.

“We continue our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint in line with our recently validated science-based emission reduction targets and are progressing investments in renewable energy to power our operations. Our leadership in diamond transparency and traceability also continued throughout 2023, underpinned by leading technologies, so that we can increasingly connect consumers with the provenance of their natural diamond and all the benefits it has delivered along its journey.”