Pandora, the world’s largest jewelery company, announced on Wednesday that it was ending its 12-year membership with the Responsible Jewelery Council (RJC), a London-based organization that sets sustainability standards for the jewelry industry. jewelry and watchmaking.
In a statement, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based company, known for its popular charm jewelry, said its decision followed the RJC’s failure to suspend Russian business memberships and responsible business certifications. He urges RJC members to suspend trade relations with Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Pandora added that it had previously asked the RJC to take such action.
“We are shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, who are victims of this senseless act of military aggression,” Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said in a statement. . “War demands that all companies act with the utmost responsibility regarding any business interaction or transaction with Russia and Belarus. Pandora cannot be a bona fide member of an association that does not share our values.
Update: A few hours after Pandora’s announcement, the Richemont Group – a Swiss luxury holding company with brands including Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels – has reportedly announced it is also leaving RJC. More information below.
Update: It is also reported that the executive director of the RJC, Iris Van der Veken, resigned. David Bouffard, president of the RJC, would not confirm this. Instead, he sent out a statement about an hour ago saying the organization must follow a detailed process before suspending a member. The statement is listed at the end of the story.
Update: A second jewelry trade publication confirmed that Van der Veken has resigned.
Update: French luxury holding company Kering, whose jewelry brands are Boucheron, Pomellato and Qeelin, has also left the RJC.
In response to an email, Pandora spokesman Johan Melchior said the decision to leave RJC came after the company tried to end its relationship with Russian companies but failed to do so. not done so far.
“We have urged the RJC to suspend Russian affiliate memberships and issue a call to action for all RJC members to suspend all business activity with Russia. They didn’t and as a result we decided to leave,” Melchior said. “We don’t see how RJC can represent the industry on sustainability and not take a clear stance on the war in Ukraine.
pandorain its statement, said it suspended all business with Russia and Belarus on February 24. Pandora has also “instructed all of its suppliers and business partners that no raw materials, products or services provided to Pandora may be sourced directly or indirectly from Russia or Belarus.”
Burkhart Grund, Richemont’s chief financial officer, told reporters that Richemont left the RJC at the Watches & Wonders watch show on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
“We are not trying to make a statement per se, we are trying to maintain the very high standards that we have shaped over the past 15 years. If the RJC cannot meet the highest standards, we cannot. be a part. That’s why we quit,” Grund reportedly said.
RJC, founded in 2005, has a stated goal to “promote standards that build people’s trust in the global jewelry and watch supply chain”. Van der Veken has served as the organization’s executive director since 2019. According to its website search engine of more than 1,400 RJC members, no companies from the Russian Federation are listed.
However, in a specific company search, a Russian diamond miner, Alrosa, became a certified member of the RJC. The largest volume-based diamond mining company has been specifically banned from trading in the United States, as part of a sweeping executive order issued by President Biden banning a number of imports from Russia. The diamond ban put an end to all activities of Alrosa USA. Its US office is due to close on April 30.
The RJC statement reads as follows:
The RJC is deeply shocked and concerned by the military conflict in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis. At the outset of this military conflict, the RJC Board of Directors, mindful of its fiduciary duties and the need to act diligently, immediately commenced an independent, independent legal assessment.
This process was initiated to review Alrosa’s status as a member of the RJC, to ensure that the appropriate action taken was taken in accordance with the principles of natural justice and, most importantly, that it was within the powers advice. Any further action would come on top of news that Alrosa had already distanced herself from any leadership role at the RJC after stepping down as trustee and vice-president.
The RJC realizes that the pace of this process can be frustrating, but this is an unprecedented situation that is constantly changing and requires time to be taken to ensure that due process is followed in the most appropriate way. as exhaustive as possible. However, it will be finalized shortly.
As a member-based professional association, the RJC must act in accordance with its constitutional and statutory duties and discharge its responsibilities in good faith.