The Richemont (CFR.S) group has stepped down from the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) after the industry body failed to cut ties with Russia, executives from the group told reporters at the Watches and Wonders watchmakers industry fair on Wednesday.
“It is not part of our Richemont values to be part of an organization in which some members are supporting conflicts and wars,” said Cyrille Vigneron, president and chief executive officer of Cartier.
The membership of Russia’s state-owned Alrosa (ALRS.MM
) in the RJC has drawn scrutiny, even though the company stepped down voluntarily from the RJC’s board earlier this month.
The Russian diamond producer — the world’s largest — was added to a UK sanctions list last week and Washington has targeted both the company and its CEO Sergei Ivanov, who, the U.S. Treasury said, is reportedly one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies.
In an emailed statement to Reuters Wednesday, RJC chair David A. Bouffard, said a third-party legal assessment of Alrosa’s membership status, kicked off at the start of the war, would be concluded “imminently”, noting the organization “appreciates that the pace of this process may be frustrating.”
“We’re not trying to make a statement per se, we’re trying to uphold the very high standards we’ve been shaping over the last 15 years. If RJC cannot uphold the highest of standards, then we cannot be part of that. That’s why we stepped down,” Richemont chief financial officer Burkhart Grund said of the luxury group’s decision to leave the RJC.
Grund added that the luxury group would look into how to certify its labels in order to reassure consumers.