Two significant members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) have announced the termination of their memberships due to perceived inaction following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday (March 30) Pandora Group and Richemont made separate public statements declaring an end their respective relationships with the RJC.
Richemont is headquartered in Bellevue, Switzerland and is a luxury goods holding company which most notably owns Cartier, the iconic French watchmaker and jewellery manufacturer.
Richemont has a revenue stream exceeding €14 billion a year ($AU20.82 billion) and is the world’s third largest luxury goods company behind LVMH and Estee Lauder Companies.
According to Reuters, Richemont CFO Burkhart Grund spoke to reports at the Watches and Wonders industry fair in Geneva on Wednesday.
“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,” Grund said.
“If RJC cannot uphold highest of standards, then we cannot be part of that. That’s why we stepped down.”
Cartier president and CEO Cyrille Vigneron doubled down on this statement.
“It is not part of our Richemont values to be part of an organization in which some members are supporting conflicts and wars.”
Pandora walks out
Until now, Pandora Group has been a member of the RJC for 12 years.
“We are shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and our thoughts go to the people of Ukraine, who are victims of this senseless act of military aggression,” Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said on Wednesday.
“The war requires all businesses to act with the utmost responsibility regarding any interactions or business dealings with Russia and Belarus.
“Pandora cannot in good faith be a member of an association that does not share our values.”
Pandora’s announcement highlighted the RJC’s failure to suspend the memberships of Russian companies following the invasion in late February as the core reason for ending the partnership.
Pandora stated that it has specifically requested the RJC make those suspensions and used the announcement to clarify the company’s position on business dealings with Russia.
“On 24 February, Pandora suspended all business with Russia and Belarus. Pandora has also instructed all its suppliers and business partners that no raw materials, products or services supplied to Pandora can come directly or indirectly from Russia or Belarus,” the statement reads.
Pandora was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Copenhagen in Denmark. As of 2021 the company has more than 7,000 locations world wide and reported revenue of 19 billion kroner ($AU2.95 billion). Since the invasion, the company has donated $US1 million to UNICEF to help fund relief efforts for children affected by the conflict.