Alrosa suspends RJC membership

Lenore Fedow

The Russian diamond miner’s membership had been a point of contention, causing major companies to leave the organization.

Alrosa has suspended its membership in the Responsible Jewellery Council in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company announced [the week of March 28].

The RJC board has voted to accept the suspension, the organization said in a separate statement issued a few hours after Alrosa’s announcement Friday [April 1st].

Due to the current unprecedented realities, Alrosa, as a company that cares for the industry as much as it cares for its mining communities, has decided to suspend its membership in the RJC,” said Alrosa.

The company said it will continue to uphold high standards of responsible business conduct and ethics, describing itself as “one of the major contributors to the sustainable development of this industry.

We have always stayed upfront on the sustainability agenda in diamond mining with clear vision as to our responsibilities to the communities and the regions of our operations, as well as how we run our business with our suppliers and clients. Our industry commitments are here to stay, as our full support to the RJC’s mission.

The Russian company, which is one-third owned by the government, remains under U.S. sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its continued membership in RJC had been a point of contention among members.

Pandora, Richemont and Kering confirmed publicly they were leaving RJC [the week of March 28], citing the organization’s refusal to cut ties with Russian companies.

Watches of Switzerland did the same in a statement issued Thursday [March 31], noting that RJC’s approach to handling the situation “goes against the common values we expect from our industry in response to the situation.” 

And designer Stephen Webster said in a statement he had withdrawn his application to be an RJC member.
Our brand philosophy is to build a business to be a force for good, and we only look to collaborate with those who embody these same values,” said Webster.

RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken has also resigned over the organization’s handling of Alrosa’s membership.

In March, Alrosa stepped down as vice chair of the RJC but retained its RJC membership.

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Source National Jeweler