Tiffany: Sustainable Mining and Stakeholder Collaboration

Little blue box_Shereen M Tiffany & Co.’s 2014 sustainability report asserts that the iconic jeweler has a “moral imperative to help sustain the natural world.” The company, after all, is uniquely in tune with the environment as it has combined art, aesthetics and profits for more than 175 years.

“At Tiffany, we believe that sustainability is a critical element of our business strategy, and that sustainable principles should be practiced in every part of our company,” said Frédéric Cumenal, CEO of Tiffany & Co. In his first month as CEO, Cumenal appointed the company’s first chief sustainability officer, Anisa Kamadoli Costa.

Tiffany’s chairman of the board, Michael J. Kowalski, asserts the company has “long challenged both the mining and jewelry industries to improve — to increase transparency, and prioritize environmental protection and human rights. Jewelry consumers deserve to know that we have taken every effort to ensure that their jewelry is sourced and crafted responsibly.”

Sustainability is “inherently collaborative and stakeholder driven;” it recognizes and embraces the integral role that stakeholders play in its business, including employees, stockholders, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), industry members and supply chain partners, the report says.

The sustainability report provides an overview of the company’s efforts regarding major environmental and social challenges, with a focus on responsible mining and sourcing of raw materials, ranging from diamonds and gold to packaging.

Specific areas of the report, which align with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and United Nations Global Compact reporting frameworks, include:

Responsible mining

Tiffany says “significant progress” was made last year on the development of a globally recognized standard for responsible mining. As a founding member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), the company has collaborated with representatives from industry, NGOs, impacted communities, labor organizations and others to develop third-party, multi-stakeholder standards for responsible mining. This year IRMA plans to pilot the draft standard and release a revised draft before a final standard is adopted.

Tiffany also has taken an innovative approach to sourcing by forming direct relationships with many of the mines that supply diamonds and precious metals. In 2014, the company received 100 percent of its rough diamonds either directly from a known mine or from a supplier with multiple known mines.

Paper and packaging

To ensure that the paper for Tiffany Blue Boxes and bags is responsibly sourced, 100 percent of paper suppliers for boxes and bags in 2014 were FSC certified. FSC certification assures that wood and paper products come from renewable and well-managed resources.

In 2014, the Tiffany Blue Box was made with more than 89 percent recycled content, and the Tiffany Blue bag was made with 50 percent recycled content.

Building footprint

Tiffany has committed to reducing total global greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from 2013 to 2020. Last year it continued a global initiative to replace energy-intensive lights in retail displays with efficient LED lights and expanded it to include LED overhead lighting. By the end of 2014, over 30 retail locations were retrofitted with LED overhead lighting, with an additional 35 to 40 locations planned in 2015.

Tiffany appears to get it: It has “integrated sustainability into many dimensions of its work — from the social and environmental practices of the mines we source from to the paper in our iconic Blue Boxes and bags.” It also uses the power of its brand to raise awareness about critical issues and lead the jewelry industry toward a more sustainable future, the report says. A moral imperative? That’s where the art and practice of sustainability should start.

Image credit: Little blue box by Shereen M via Flickr CC

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