Russian miner ALROSA suspends its membership of Responsible Jewellery Council


Russian diamonds miner ALROSA has suspended its membership with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) with immediate effect, due to the war in Ukraine. The RJC Board of directors voted on April 1, 2022, to accept the suspension of ALROSA.

The London-based RJC said in a statement that it had followed due process, respecting governance and the fiduciary duties within the powers of its Board. 

“Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the current geopolitical crisis,” said David Bouffard, RJC Chair.

“These have been challenging times and the Board of the RJC has been pursuing a thorough review of the situation and, as it is committed to do with each of its more than 1,500 members, ensuring due process was followed.

“The Board of the RJC understands and respects ALROSA’s decision to suspend its membership and thanks them for their commitment over the last five years.”

Beginning on March 3, the Board immediately began a comprehensive, third-party legal review to ensure it had the appropriate authority, within its constitutional documents, to take action.

The selected law firm — having concluded its own standard conflict of interest assessment — commenced its review of RJC’s governance, the Board’s authorities, training modules and many other documents and processes.

Additional government actions, including sanctions announced by the United States in February and March, and the United Kingdom on March 24, caused additional complexity and increased the time necessary to complete the review, the RJC said.

The legal review, as promised, was provided to the RJC Board of directors mid-week this week.

Taking any action prior to the delivery of the legal opinion would have exposed the RJC to significant legal risk.

“We take governance seriously and want to ensure that any action we take is fully supported by law,” Bouffard said.

“Fundamentally, we remain focused on RJC’s purpose, which is to ensure all jewellery is responsibly sourced,” he added.

“Our actions and due diligence reflect our commitment to that purpose.”

RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken resigned earlier this week due to disagreements over the RJC’s position following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sources confirmed.

Iris Van der Veken has resigned as executive director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) over the organization’s handling of Alrosa’s membership during the Russia-Ukraine war, Rapaport reported. – RJC Head Iris Van der Veken Resigns

Pandora and Richemont — whose members include several leading brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Panerai, Montblanc and Piaget — said earlier this week they were leaving the RJC, citing its refusal to cut ties with Russian companies.

French-based luxury goods group Kering, whose brands include Pomellato, also exited RJC, sources and press reports said.

Respected Paris-based gemstone dealer Emmanuel Piat left the RJC Standards Committee.