Richemont and Pandora quit jewelry trading group over Russian politics – WWD

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PARIS Luxury conglomerate Compagnie Financière Richemont, French luxury group Kering and Danish jewelry brand Pandora said on Wednesday they were pulling out of the Responsible Jewelry Council in protest at its failure to sever ties with Russia, one of the world’s leading diamond producers.

Richemont, owner of watch and jewelry brands such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, made the announcement on the opening day of Watches & Wonders in Geneva. The first in-person watch trade show since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has been overshadowed by concerns over the impact of war in Ukraine and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China.

Richemont said it decided to withdraw from the RJC in accordance with the articles of the business group’s code of practice on human rights and supply chain due diligence. “Richemont and its houses do not wish to be members of an industrial organization that includes companies that contribute to the financing of conflicts and wars,” he said in a statement provided to WWD.

Kering, which last year announced a partnership with Cartier and the RJC on the Watch and Jewelry Initiative 2030, also announced its withdrawal.

“Faced with the inability of the Responsible Jewelry Council to deal with the current situation in Europe in a manner consistent with Kering’s corporate values, the group has decided, through its jewelry houses Boucheron, Pomellato and Qeelin, as well than Gucci, to step down from the board,” he said in a statement.

“Kering in no way wants to be associated with business practices that contribute to an endorsement of war,” he added.

Kering’s director of sustainability and head of institutional affairs, Marie-Claire Daveu, and Cartier’s chief executive, Cyrille Vigneron, are due to appear on a panel at Watches & Wonders on Friday to discuss the joint initiative, which sets environmental targets for the industry, but the RJC will not participate, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Pandora said it asked the RJC to suspend Russian business membership and responsible business certifications, and urged its members to suspend business with Russia. He decided to revoke his 12-year membership in the trade group due to his lack of response.

“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,” CEO Alexander Lacik said in a statement.

Pandora suspended all business with Russia and Belarus on February 24. It has also indicated to all of its suppliers and business partners that no raw materials, products or services supplied to Pandora may come directly or indirectly from Russia or Belarus.

The RJC, which has nearly 1,500 members, said it was “deeply shocked and concerned” by the conflict in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis, and launched an independent legal assessment on what action to take.

“This process was initiated to review Alrosa’s status as a member of the RJC, to ensure that appropriate action was taken in accordance with the principles of natural justice and, importantly, that it was within the powers of the Board of Directors,” said RJC President David Bouffard. said in a statement.

The Russian diamond mining company, which accounts for around a quarter of the world’s diamond production, voluntarily resigned as RJC vice-chairman earlier this month and temporarily stepped down from its board. Alrosa has also suspended its membership and funding from the Natural Diamond Council.

“The RJC realizes that the pace of this process can be frustrating, but this is an unprecedented situation that is constantly changing and requires taking the time to ensure that due process is followed in the most appropriate way. as comprehensive as possible. It will, however, be concluded shortly,” Bouffard said.

Tiffany & Co., the US jeweler owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said last week it had stopped sourcing diamonds mined in Russia, effective March 21.

An executive order signed on March 11 by President Joe Biden banned, along with other high-end products, the import of diamonds mined from Russia into the United States. But if the stones are cut and polished elsewhere, it is difficult to impose such restrictions – not least because of the sometimes murky traceability of the diamond industry’s supply chain.With contributions from Samantha Conti

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