RJC appoints new board members
The Responsible Jewelery Council held its 2022 Annual General Meeting on June 1, appointing seven members to the Board of Directors.
The RJC describes itself as the “leading standards organization for the global jewelery and watch industry” and boasts 1,600 members from over 70 countries.
At the June 1 meeting, RJC President David Bouffard announced the following appointments after the elections were held.
Raj Kumar Jain (Gemstones Corporation) was elected to represent the forum of traders, cutters and polishers of diamonds and gemstones. Ankur Goyal (MMTC-PAMP) was elected to represent the forum of traders, refiners and brokers in precious metals.
Arien Gessner (Richline Group) and Roger Forman (Marathon Company) were elected to represent the jewelry manufacturers and wholesalers forum.
Pravin Pattni (Minar Jewelers) was elected to represent the jewelry retailer forum. Edward Asscher (World Diamond Council) was elected to represent the forum of professional associations.
There was also a re-election, with the return of Rajesh Neelakanta (BVC Logistics) to represent the service industries forum.
After the AGM, Bouffard said he believed the organization was operating from a position of strength.
“I am delighted to continue to serve the second term of my elected position as Chairman of the RJC Board of Directors, helping to protect the reputation of the jewelry industry,” said Bouffard.
“I would also like to extend my congratulations to all those returning or joining our Board of Directors after the AGM, and thank them for their service to the industry.”
He added: “Our mission to continuously improve the integrity of the global jewelry and watch supply chain has been reinforced by these appointments, and the guidance of the Board of Directors alongside our interim Executive Director , John Hall, will be essential in helping us to ensure that we build on our already very strong foundations.
Drama, change for RJC
The RJC found itself under siege in 2022, with former executive director Iris Van der Veken stepping down amid internal unrest sparked by the organization’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Van der Veken resigned from his post on March 29 after three years of service, with John Hall – a former chief executive of external affairs at Rio Tinto – named interim executive director.
Russian mining company Alrosa withdrew from the RJC on April 1. Pandora, Richemont, Kering, Watches of Switzerland and Bulgari also withdrew their RJC membership, citing inaction in response to the dispute.
While the RJC made no public comment after the resignation, instead communicating with members by letter, Van der Veken said the following via a post on Linkedin.
“It was a difficult and emotionally charged decision, but in my heart I know it was the right one, for all involved,” she said.
“My experience over the past three years has been truly rewarding as I have worked on key issues close to my heart. The 2030 Agenda, human rights, gender equality and ESG (environment, social and corporate governance).
“I have seen these areas resonate with so many committed RJC members and partners around the world. I am grateful to have worked with an inspiring and diverse team who have been very supportive in my journey.
“I thank the RJC Board of Directors (past and current members) for their support and encouragement over the past three years. I am hopeful that our paths will cross again and I remain committed to the mission of the RJC. Sustainability is here to stay and is key to consumer confidence. I look forward to continuing to work on this program.
Following the June 1 AGM, interim RJC leader Hall echoed those sentiments.
“Our members are united by their commitment to strengthening the sustainability of the jewelry and watch industry,” he said.
“Under the continued leadership of David (Bouffard) and our new and former board members, we are in a stronger position to continue to work together on behalf of the entire jewelry supply chain. and watches, from mine to retail.”
The RJC was formed in 2005 by 14 member organizations.
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