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13 August 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Jewellery brand Tiffany has formed “direct relationships” with many of the mines that supply its diamonds and precious metals.
In the company’s annual corporate responsibility report, it claimed that the move is “unique within the jewellery industry”.
It added that in 2013, Tiffany received 100 per cent of rough diamonds either directly from a known mine or a supplier with multiple known mines. According to the report, Tiffany traced 98 per cent of raw precious metals procured by its manufacturing facilities directly to a mine or recycler.
“In addition, the Tiffany board of directors also adopted a conflict minerals policy, which articulates principles for responsible gold mining to our vendors,” it said.
“Tiffany continues to raise awareness of the risks associated with the development of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The company has publicly declared, for many years, that it will not source gold from the Pebble Mine, should it be developed, and applauds the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s responsible and prudent use of its clear authority under the Clean Water Act to protect this extraordinary natural resource.”
The report also pointed out that Tiffany invests in “diamond-producing countries, actively advocates for preservation efforts and encourages more progressive and effective government oversight”.
It said: “By investing in diamond-producing countries, we are able to maintain the integrity of our supply chain while creating jobs, training unskilled workers and benefitting local economies – all important goals of Tiffany’s sustainability work.”
Tiffany chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski said: “With respect to diamond sourcing, we believe that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme helps assure diamonds in our supply chain are conflict free. However, we also recognise that the definition of “conflict” needs to include circumstances where diamond mining contributes to human rights abuses.”
He added: “We believe that countries that host mining operations should receive a greater share of the profits of the jewellery value chain, and we have established diamond cutting and polishing operations to support that belief.”