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30 Mar 2022


Cartier and other Richemont brands exit Responsible Jewellery Council, after industry body fails to cut ties with Russia

"Cartier and other Richemont labels leave Responsible Jewellery Council", 30 March 2022

GENEVA, March 30 (Reuters) - Cartier and other labels of the Richemont (CFR.S) group have 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.

Jewellery maker Pandora PNDORA.CO also said on Wednesday it was cutting ties with the RJC, which sets ethical standards for the jewellery and watch industry.

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 last 15 years. If RJC cannot uphold 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.

Richemont, which has suspended activities including e-commerce in Russia, also said it has stopped sourcing diamonds from the country since Feb. 24.