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RJC executive director steps down amid ongoing Russia conflict

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The Responsible Jewellery Council’s (RJC) executive director, Iris Van der Veken, has reportedly resigned from her role following the organisation’s handling of Alrosa’s membership during the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to Rapaport News, Van der Veken handed in her resignation letter to the board of directors on Wednesday (30 March) as she was “dissatisfied” with the body’s failure to suspend Russian miner Alrosa.

Alrosa voluntarily stepped down from the position of vice-chair of RJC, temporarily leaving the board of directors on 3 March.

The announcement comes as Van der Veken celebrated her three-year anniversary at the RJC this week.

It also comes after Pandora announced its decision to leave the RJC over its failure to suspend Russian companies’ membership.

Alexander Lacik, Pandora CEO, said: “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.

“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.”

Luxury jewellery and watch house, Richemont, has also recently stepped down from the organisation, citing its commitment to human rights via the RJC’s code of practice and to supply chain due diligence.

In the statement, the group said it does not wish to be members of an industry organisation that includes companies that “contribute to financing conflicts and wars”.

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