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According to its website, Everledger is "TRUSTED BY” six organisations and their logos are used as apparent endorsement of the company; however, there are questions over the accuracy and truthfulness of the claim. CEO Leanne Kemp remains silent.
According to its website, Everledger is "TRUSTED BY” six organisations and their logos are used as apparent endorsement of the company; however, there are questions over the accuracy and truthfulness of the claim. CEO Leanne Kemp remains silent.

Lust for trust: Everledger in hot water for misuse of third-party logos

Brisbane-based technology company Everledger has been misusing the intellectual property of third-party organisations and may have breached Australian Consumer Law.

The company, which focuses on the jewellery industry, collapsed eight weeks ago with close to $AU10 million in debts and was placed under voluntary administration on 24 April.

The UK parent company, Foreverhold Limited, is in the process of being liquidated.

Launched in 2016 by Leanne Kemp, Everledger has received more than $AU54 million in funding and boasted Chinese tech giant Tencent - owner of WeChat - as an investor.

The company’s rise to a ‘global power player’ led to Kemp’s appointment to the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur position by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2018, despite having previously faced personal bankruptcy proceedings.

During her time as Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur (2018-2020), her company racked up more than $AU5 million in losses.

Everledger’s mandate, according to Kemp, is to improve transparency and ethics in the jewellery industry, especially in the international diamond industry.

Kemp regularly speaks about the importance of trust and the company website states: “Everledger is the digital transparency company, providing technology solutions to increase transparency in global supply chains. Our purpose is to contribute greater clarity and confidence in the marketplaces where transparency is a strategic imperative.”

The homepage goes on to describe the company’s purpose as “Helping everyone to trust in what they buy”.

» Background reading: Uncovering the financial truth with Everledger

Furthermore, the website features the logos of six organisations with a claim that these companies ‘trust’ Everledger, in what appears to be a promotion of the company’s credibility and integrity.

The logos of the World Economic Forum, Brilliant Earth, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Blockchain Australia, Tencent, and FISITA all appear under the heading “TRUSTED BY”.

The problem is at least two of the organisations featured on the website were unaware that their intellectual property was being used to promote Everledger.

Amy-Rose Goodey, head of operations, Blockchain Australia
Amy-Rose Goodey, head of operations, Blockchain Australia
“Everledger is not a member and their website should not be displaying the Blockchain Australia logo. If they were not in liquidation we would ask them to remove our logo.”
Amy-Rose Goodey, Blockchain Australia

Representatives confirmed to Jeweller that permission to use the logos had not been sought, nor granted.

A spokesperson for The World Economic Forum (WEF) told Jeweller, “It is important to note that the WEF has no involvement in Everledger’s business decisions.”

“Furthermore, we would like to clarify the WEF never grants permission for any technology pioneer to use the WEF logo.”

Likewise, Blockchain Australia head of operations Amy-Rose Goodey confirmed that Everledger has been using the logo ‘improperly’ and without explicit permission.

"Everledger is not a member and their website should not be displaying the Blockchain Australia logo. If they were not in liquidation we would ask them to remove our logo," she said.

Chair of Blockchain Australia Michael Bacina contacted Jeweller to further emphasise that he views this behaviour by businesses as a serious problem.

He and his staff could not find any connection between Blockchain Australia and Everledger and confirmed that his organisation does not provide a statement of trust to any third-party company.

A website screen capture 27 June, showing the logos and implication that Everledger is “trusted by” the World Economic Forum and Blockchain Australia; both organisations deny any knowledge of the claims and advise no permission was granted for use of their logos.
A website screen capture 27 June, showing the logos and implication that Everledger is “trusted by” the World Economic Forum and Blockchain Australia; both organisations deny any knowledge of the claims and advise no permission was granted for use of their logos.

Transparency in question
Leanne Kemp, founder Everledger, lectures about transparency in the jewellery industry - "There
Leanne Kemp, founder Everledger, lectures about transparency in the jewellery industry - "There's a lust for trust".

Brilliant Earth promotes its business as being at the forefront of blockchain technology: “We were one of the first jewellers to offer blockchain-enabled diamonds at scale, to provide traceability of a diamond’s origin and ownership”.

The site also states, “At Brilliant Earth, our mission is to cultivate a more transparent, sustainable, compassionate and inclusive jewellery industry”.

It is unclear if Brilliant Earth uses the Everledger platform or whether the company granted approval for the Brilliant Earth logo to appear on the Everledger website under the heading “TRUSTED BY”.

After numerous attempts to seek clarification on this - and its own claims about transparency - Jeweller was contacted by Victoria Del Rico, director of communications Brilliant Earth; however, she has subsequently remained silent.

Del Rico would not answer questions or provide any information whatsoever.

» Background reading: Jewelclaim deletes logos without explanation

The Fred Meyer Jewelers logo appears under the same “TRUSTED BY” heading and Kirsten Darrow, group vice president Fred Meyer Jewelers is quoted on the Everledger website as stating, “We are excited to be able to offer Rock Solid diamonds to our customers as part of our ongoing commitment to responsibly sourced and transparent jewellery supply chains”.

Fred Meyer Jewelers is a US national chain and subsidiary of Fred Meyer and Kroger. The company also operates under the name Littman Jewelers. Kroger operates more than 2,700 retail grocery stores across 35 US states.

Jeweller contacted Fred Meyer Jewelers on multiple occasions seeking clarity about the company’s apparent endorsement of Everledger and its own transparency practices; however,  it failed to respond. FISITA likewise did not respond to various requests for comment.

Tencent is/was an investor in Everledger and was responsive to emails; however, at the time of publication had not provided comment on the issues relating to its logo and/or the “TRUSTED BY” matter.

Lust for trust?

The Everledger website features a ‘profile’ page on Kemp which states: “In her role as CEO, she inspires and steers the team of Everlegends [sic] to increase transparency and trust with technology, in close collaboration with our industry partners.” 

In a 2021 interview with Rapaport, a diamond industry publication, Kemp spoke of the importance of trust in business.

“There’s a lust toward trust,” she told the publication. The article continues by describing Everledger as being “on a mission to facilitate that trend [sustainability], using its blockchain-powered platform to help diamond and jewellery businesses keep a transparent record of their products’ provenance.”

World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
“It is important to note that the WEF has no involvement in Everledger’s business decisions.”
World Economic Forum spokesperson

The company's future remains up in the air after a second creditors meeting was postponed to 28 June.

Everledger faces significant debt and the Administrator’s report concluded that the company has no intellectual property assets.

In a surprising admission, the report also indicated that the company effectively survived on government grants.

If a Deed of Company Arrangement is accepted in order to allow Everledger to continue, it could find itself running afoul of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) regarding claims that it has misused the intellectual property of third-party organisations.

Section 18 of the ACL states, “a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive.”

Jeweller sought clarification from Kemp about if, and why, her company would be exploiting the logos of external organisations - without approval - by suggesting that Everledger was “trusted by” them.

At the time of publication she had not responded.

Kemp has previously denied that, under her management, Everledger “burned cash”.

It has also come to light that it’s not the first time Kemp - who describes herself as a ‘serial entrepreneur' - has experienced financial difficulty. She faced personal bankruptcy proceedings in 2004.

Government documents obtained by Jeweller show that Kemp was listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) - a public record about individuals who have been subject to proceedings under the Bankruptcy Act.

The reasons for the legal case and Kemp’s listing on the NPII have been redacted from government documents.

Since the collapse of her two companies in April, Kemp has continued to author articles and post on social media about the importance of trust and transparency in the jewellery industry, as well as speak at industry events.

More reading
Everledger collapse places Queensland Government in firing line, CEO faced bankruptcy in 2004
Everledger collapse: Questions raised around business model, management
Second collapse in Everledger saga; CEO denies ‘cash-burning’
Australian diamond tracing tech company collapses
New blockchain platform can track pearl provenance and ownership
Australian-led start-up launches new blockchain platform

 











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