For over 175 years, extraordinary designs, impeccable craftsmanship and rewarding customer experiences have been at the heart of Tiffany & Co., our brand and how we operate. Our founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, recognized that “Nature is our best designer,” and that fact remains visible today in so many of the designs you will see in our stores. For all of us here at Tiffany, we understand that an integral part of our brand vision is helping preserve the natural beauty that so clearly inspires us. We also understand the unequivocal expectations of our customers that we operate responsibly, that we protect the environment and support our local communities.
Over the past 15 years, our Company has made a strong, industry-leading commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. On behalf of Tiffany & Co., I invite you to review the content of our third annual corporate responsibility report to learn about our social and environmental challenges, what we have accomplished and what remains to be done. We are proud to share our 2012 performance, our progress and our positions on the key issue areas facing our industry.
Our Responsible Sourcing efforts are at the core of our sustainability efforts. We remain committed to sourcing the highest quality diamonds from mines that we know and investing in diamond-producing countries, through our investment in diamond cutting and polishing facilities, in the communities that host these facilities, and through philanthropy. We also remain committed to helping the Kimberley Process adapt to a changing global environment, in particular recognizing the need to strengthen the KP’s ability to address human rights abuses wherever they occur. Failing that, we will work through industry initiatives and our own supply chain to provide the assurances the Kimberley Process cannot.
We have begun the process of setting goals around our practices and our performance, both process-oriented and quantitative, to further embed sustainability into the core competencies of our business. We are re-evaluating long-standing programs within our operations to determine how, in a constantly changing, global environment, we can best adapt to future social and environmental challenges.
We continue to improve that which is within our direct control, but we cannot act alone, and do not. Civil society continues to be a critically important stakeholder for us; we value the role that NGOs play in public dialogues and the scientific or investigative research they produce. We have for many years valued the opportunity to engage directly with NGOs that aggressively challenge industry, recognizing that all businesses require a social license to operate.
Through our initiatives to ensure the protection of the environment, respect for human rights and support for the communities in which we operate, we aspire to conduct our business in a manner we all can be proud of. Those practices have become an integral part of the Tiffany brand promise. It is not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do. It distinguishes us from our competitors, resonates with our customers and creates long-term value for our shareholders.
Michael J. Kowalski
Chairman and CEO
Tiffany & Co.