We strive to ensure that every step in the journey of our products contributes to the well-being of people and the planet.
Tiffany diamonds are sourced with care and consideration. From the moment diamonds are unearthed as rough stones and throughout their journey to polished gemstones, we believe the diamond sector can contribute positive value to the communities it operates within.
We uphold high standards in quality and for social and environmental practices. For instance, we have long pushed to expand the Kimberley Process definition of “conflict free” diamonds to protect human rights and the environment. When sourcing our diamonds, we go above and beyond the Kimberley Process by asking more from our suppliers, including through the Diamond Source Warranty Protocol.
We also maintain our high standards through leading approaches to diamond traceability. We source the majority of our rough diamonds from five countries—Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa—and in Fiscal Year 2019, we were able to trace 100%* of our rough diamonds to known mines or responsible suppliers with a limited number of known mines. In keeping with our commitment to responsible sourcing, we provide provenance information—region or countries of origin—for every newly sourced, individually registered diamond (of .18 carats and larger) that we set. In 2020, Tiffany & Co. will launch the Diamond Craft Journey, becoming the first global luxury jeweler to disclose the country where these stones are crafted. The journey outlines several steps, including cutting and polishing, grading and setting—a pioneering achievement in diamond traceability and transparency.
As a leader in diamond traceability, we don’t just adhere to industry standards—we lead by example. Over the past 15 years, we have implemented a strategy that gives us a strong chain-of-custody process for our diamonds, in part because we have direct oversight of our diamond cutting and polishing workshops.
We believe our responsible sourcing practices can help promote the protection of human rights, fair and safe labor practices, protection of the environment and ethical business conduct. We also believe that these practices can help create economic opportunity for communities along the diamond supply chain.
For more than two decades, we have made dedicated efforts to responsibly source the precious metals we use in our products, which are primarily gold, platinum and silver. We are able to carefully monitor the sourcing of precious metals—with an emphasis on sustainability—in part because we manufacture the majority of our jewelry in our own facilities.
In Fiscal Year 2019, 100%* of the raw precious metals we directly purchased were traceable to mines in the United States or from recycled sources. Since 2005, we have applied industry-leading practices such as Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold Golden Rules criteria for socially and environmentally responsible gold mining. We also have robust protocols on conflict minerals to minimize the potential for financing armed conflict and human rights abuses through our purchase of gold.
In 2019, we began to source small amounts of artisanally mined metals through a U.S. pilot project that is designed to create environmental benefits while practicing responsible mining techniques. We continue to seek opportunities to increase sourcing from responsible artisanal mines around the world. We believe that promoting responsible practices in the artisanal mining sector has the potential to dramatically improve working conditions and livelihoods for miners while protecting local environments.
In communities around the world, mining and trading colored gemstones is a cultural tradition and source of livelihoods passed down for generations. Approximately 80% of the world’s colored gemstones come from small-scale, artisanal mines spanning more than 40 countries; and the industry is highly complex, making it difficult to trace a gem’s origins.
We use strict protocols for sourcing the approximately 60 varieties we use in our jewelry; and we are helping set industry standards that account for the realities of the supply chain, while seeking to increase transparency and traceability. In some countries, where we have concerns about transparency and human rights, we have made the decision not to source prized stones, including lapis from Afghanistan and rubies from Myanmar.
We also collaborate to create standards and share best practices to promote responsible gemstone supply chains. In 2015, we joined with others in the luxury jewelry industry and colored gemstone mining sector to form the Coloured Gemstone Working Group, which has developed due diligence tools, training materials and other resources for the colored gemstone sector. Through industry partnerships and philanthropy, Tiffany and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation also support a range of stakeholders, from miners and traders to cutters and polishers, to help the colored gemstone sector support sustainable livelihoods in the many places people depend on it.
Sourcing Other Materials
We take pride in thoughtfully sourcing our raw materials, whether they are for use in our products or packaging, or our retail stores and other buildings.
We carefully consider how materials are procured and crafted, and we pay special attention to living species. We use guidance on species sustainability, including for our leathers, from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendices. Tiffany is also in the process of developing Sustainable Material Guidance as a roadmap to help us source our key materials responsibly, including considerations of human rights and biodiversity impacts. We don’t use certain materials, including coral and ivory, in our products because we believe they cannot be sourced responsibly. We extend this approach beyond our products by taking a public stand on species protection, in select cases, and by supporting conservation efforts through strategic philanthropy.
For sustainable packaging, we have long given a preference for paper that is Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified, which is considered the premier standard in responsible forestry management. We are also committed to the responsible sourcing of leather and pearls; when possible, we work with suppliers and pearl farmers who share our commitment to environmental and social stewardship.
Advancing Responsible Mining
While Tiffany & Co. does not own or operate any mines, most of our products rely on mined material. We believe the manner in which precious metals and gemstones are extracted is of the utmost importance, and believe responsible mining creates economic opportunity for communities along the supply chain. We uphold the highest standards for sourcing across our mining supply chain, and we work globally to improve the practices of both large- and small-scale mining operations.
As a company, we have built long-standing relationships with many of our suppliers, helping ensure we source materials from those who align with our values and policies. We acquire most of our metals directly from mines we know and from recycled sources. We also source the majority of our diamonds as rough diamonds, directly from mines or from suppliers with a limited number of known mines.
To promote change beyond our own operations, we work with our suppliers, employees, the industry at large, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders to create positive change and lend our expertise through multi-stakeholder initiatives to encourage more responsible mining. We helped launch the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) in 2006, were a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council in 2005 and were the first jeweler to apply Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold Golden Rules beginning in 2005.
Complementing the practices in our own supply chain, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has also provided approximately USD $6 million in grants to organizations helping to establish standards and credible certification systems to advance responsible practices in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector for gold, diamonds and colored gemstones.
Minimizing the Environmental Impacts of Mining
We understand that mining can have significant environmental impacts, and we make it a priority to minimize these impacts throughout our supply chain. We are selective about which suppliers we work with and what countries we source from; we go beyond our own supply chain through our efforts to influence the broader landscape and create change to reduce mining’s impacts on the environment. Because we source the majority of our metals from mines and recycled sources in the United States, we promote environmental stewardship in mining through our philanthropy and advocacy across the nation. These efforts date back to 1995, when Tiffany opposed a proposed gold mine threatening Yellowstone National Park. They have continued over the past two decades through The Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s grantmaking in conservation and support for organizations reclaiming historic mines, and through Tiffany’s advocacy for responsible mining policy and the protection of public lands.
Protecting Human Rights
We strive to respect and protect the rights of all people whose lives are impacted by our business, from the miners who provide our raw materials to the workers who craft our jewelry. Within our Company, we have developed a robust approach to protecting human rights. This approach includes our focus on responsible sourcing practices and other requirements set forth in the Tiffany & Co. Supplier Code of Conduct, our conflict minerals program and more. Beyond our business, collaboration is one of our most effective tools in creating a more responsible mining industry. For example, we helped to launch the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) in 2006 and continue to push the diamond industry to expand the Kimberley Process definition of “conflict free” to better safeguard human rights. In recognition of our efforts, we are proud to be the only jewelry company to have earned a “Strong” ranking for our responsible sourcing practices by Human Rights Watch in its 2018 “Hidden Cost of Jewelry” report.
Crafting with Integrity
At Tiffany & Co., fine craftsmanship means embedding social and environmental integrity throughout the manufacturing process—from sourcing our raw materials to cutting and polishing our diamonds to crafting our jewelry. Today, we craft the majority of our jewelry products in our internal workshops and facilities.
Our founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, set the stage for this beginning in 1848, when Tiffany hired artisans to make our jewelry in-house at a workshop above the Broadway store in New York City. By the late 1800s, Tiffany had also set up silversmith and diamond cutting and polishing operations. By bringing jewelry manufacturing within the walls of our Company, Tiffany set an important precedent that has allowed us to maintain our high standards throughout the production process.
Today, we have approximately 1,500 in-house artisans and we manufacture approximately 60% of our jewelry in Tiffany facilities in New York, Kentucky and Rhode Island and polish and perform certain assembly work in the Dominican Republic. In addition, in recent years, an average of approximately 75% (by volume) of the polished diamonds used in the Company’s jewelry that are .18 carats and larger and individually registered has been produced from rough diamonds that the Company has purchased. Directly managing our jewelry from sourcing to production allows us to contribute in positive ways to the communities and local economies in which we operate. This is accomplished by creating jobs, training and promoting workers and establishing a location-specific living wage program for employees in our workshops in developing countries. We are also able to better ensure our jewelry is crafted in a safe and healthy workplace.
Our responsible sourcing efforts extend this ethos across our supply chain. Through the Social and Environmental Accountability Program, which helps us uphold our basic expectations with our suppliers, we work with our key suppliers to help them improve how they manage, respect and protect human and labor rights as well as environmental performance.
Our Sustainability Pillars
At Tiffany, our approach to sustainability underpins all areas of our business.