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Alrosa Suspends Its RJC Membership

The organization’s board of directors voted to accept the move.

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LONDON — Russia-based diamond miner Alrosa has suspended its membership in the Responsible Jewellery Council.

The RJC board of directors voted to accept the suspension.

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

More from RJC’s April 1 release:

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 law firm selected — having concluded its own standard conflict of interest assessment — commenced their 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 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,” Bouffard said. “Our actions and due diligence reflect our commitment to that purpose.”

Iris Van der Veken, CEO of the Responsible Jewellery Council, recently stepped down from the role because she was unhappy that the organization had allowed Alrosa to continue its membership amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pandora and Richemont also ended their memberships in the group, citing dissatisfaction that RJC had not severed ties to Russian interests.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, strategic adviser and North America engagement lead at RJC, has said he hopes Van der Veken’s resignation “can be reversed.”

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