London, UK – 1 April 2022: Russia-based diamond miner ALROSA has suspended its membership with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) with immediate effect, noting the current unprecedented realities. The RJC Board of directors also today voted to accept the ALROSA suspension. The RJC has followed due process, respecting governance and the fiduciary duties within the powers of the Board.
“Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the current geopolitical crisis,” said David Bouffard RJC Chair. “These have been challenging times and the Board of the RJC has been pursuing a thorough review of the situation and, as it is committed to do with each of its more than 1,500 members, ensuring due process was followed. The Board of the RJC understands and respects ALROSA’s decision to suspend its membership and thanks them for their commitment over the last five years.”
Beginning on March 3, the Board immediately began a comprehensive, third-party legal review to ensure it had the appropriate authority, within its constitutional documents, to take action. The law firm selected — having concluded its own standard conflict of interest assessment — commenced their review of RJC’s governance, the Board’s authorities, training modules and many other documents and processes.
Additional government actions, including sanctions announced by the United States in February and March, and the United Kingdom on March 24, caused additional complexity and increased the time necessary to complete the review. The legal review, as promised, was provided to the RJC Board of directors mid-week this week. Taking any action prior to the delivery of the legal opinion would have exposed the RJC to significant legal risk. “We take governance seriously and want to ensure that any action we take is fully supported by law,” Bouffard said.
“Fundamentally, we remain focused on RJC’s purpose, which is to ensure all jewellery is responsibly sourced,” Bouffard said. “Our actions and due diligence reflect our commitment to that purpose.”