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Tiffany scores top marks for ethical mining

Sustainable and ethical are hot keywords in the luxury industry. In the most recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) study, Tiffany and Co. emerges at the top for their applaudable efforts to address human rights risks in the gold and diamond supply chain.

Apr 19, 2018 | By Shirley Wang

Sustainable and ethical are hot keywords in the luxury industry. In the most recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) study, Tiffany and Co. emerges at the top for their significant efforts and contributions to address human rights risks in the gold and diamond supply chain.

The single supply mine where Tiffany sources gold from has also regulations in place to conduct regular human rights assessments. The Board of Directors also adopts a Conflict Minerals Policy, which articulates principles for responsible gold mining to its vendors. 

Tiffany is one of the five companies to establish a code of conduct in their contracts that aligns with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, along with other brands such as Bvlgari, Signet Jewelers, Pandora and Chopard. The contract details expectations regarding human rights, labor practices, environmental protection, and ethical business conduct, all of which comply with the Kimberley Process and World Diamond Council System of Warranties.

To realise the code of conduct, suppliers are required to conduct periodic self-assessments of human rights risks. Regular audits are conducted and systems have been created in place to respond to risks in their supply chain to ensure standards are met. Diamonds are only sourced from countries that are full participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Tiffany and Co. has helped launch Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and Development Diamond Initiative (DDI) that help formalize and promote responsible artisanal mining in both the diamond and gold sectors. In addition to showing financial support to develop responsible artisanal mines, Tiffany and Co. are also exploring the possibility of sourcing from certified mines that will be feasible.

Sustainability reports are published annually, including information on actions to achieve responsible mining, ethical sourcing, and approach to supplier audits. In 2014, Tiffany & Co. pledged that it sources 100 percent of its diamonds from known mines or suppliers with multiple known mines. Recently, Tiffany has also publicly revealed that its source of newly mined gold to from Bingham Canyon, a mine owned by Rio Tinto.

Raw precious metals in Tiffany’s trade can also be directly traced to a mine or recycler. 27 percent of its gold comes from this single mine and the remaining 73 percent comes from recycled sources sourced from a single supplier. Names of other suppliers have been shared with HRW on a confidential basis.

Apart from such efforts in the supply industry, Tiffany has also taken steps to reduce their environment footprints by using sustainably sourced paper and wood-fiber materials are used for their packaging. On the packaging front, Tiffany reports that the paper suppliers for its signature blue boxes and bags were Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified.

Other brands in the report include Cartier, Chopard and Signet. For the complete list and more details, view the full HRW report.

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