Our Responsible Mining Philosophy
Tiffany is committed to improving mining standards around the world, respecting the environment and supporting the people who work in or live near mines.
Responsible Mining Principles
Although we do not own or operate any mines, we are committed to improving mining standards around the world. Over the years, we have developed a strong point of view on what it means to mine responsibly. We work with leaders from industry, civil society and government to support the development of mining industry standards that aim to respect the environment and the people who work in and live around mines.
We believe that responsible mining should encompass a mine’s full life cycle, from the exploration phase before the mine is built to mine development and operations to responsible mine closure.
In addition, the mining industry should practice good governance and uphold the highest levels of integrity, transparency and respect for the human rights of people in local communities impacted by mining projects, including seeking the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples when operating in their territories and on projects that affect their lands, traditional livelihoods and cultural heritage as defined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We also support mine operators that embrace environmental protection and waste and emissions management as core practices—including after the mine is closed—through multi-stakeholder initiatives.
It is our firm belief that the mining sector can contribute social and economic value to society through engagement with all of its stakeholders, including affected communities. The sector must also have robust systems that respect and uphold human rights and enable safe, dignified work.
The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
Tiffany & Co. is proud to be a founding member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and continues to actively participate in the organization’s governance and advancement. In this leadership role, we have worked with fellow purchasers of mined materials, mining companies, NGOs, labor unions and mining-affected communities to create a pioneering Standard for Responsible Mining, released in 2018. By integrating diverse perspectives from each of these groups, this standard represents a robust, practicable and comprehensive set of requirements for responsible mining, which incorporate environmental, social, ethical and transparency considerations. We believe that when a mine is IRMA-certified, it signifies best-in-class responsible practices occur at the site, thus contributing to a world in which human rights and the aspirations of affected communities are respected and protected.
In 2020, the first mines are undergoing independent, third-party audits against the IRMA Standard, which we believe is an essential component of IRMA’s credibility and transparency as a system. Tiffany & Co. is encouraging its suppliers to begin the process of becoming IRMA-certified and/or to begin using IRMA-certified materials as they are available. Given the comprehensive nature of the IRMA Standard, we understand achieving full certification may take time, but we believe this is a critical step to ensure the mining sector’s practices evolve and improve.
We hope more mining companies will engage with IRMA in the near future, as we believe IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining has the potential to strengthen mining industry practices as a whole and connect purchasers of mined materials with mining suppliers who are committed to building responsible mining value chains.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process, established in 2003, has helped eliminate the flow of “conflict diamonds” sold by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. However, we believe it is time to expand the Kimberley Process definition of “conflict free” to better protect human rights; stem environmental threats; and stop exploitative labor practices, thereby improving the lives of miners. Because of the consensus-based governance model of the Kimberley Process, change has been elusive. Further, since the Kimberley Process applies only to rough stones, companies must do more to ensure all of its diamonds, including polished stones, are sourced responsibly.
Our standards go above and beyond the Kimberley Process’s requirements. The majority of Tiffany diamonds are sourced from Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa. 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. The balance of the Company’s needs for individually registered diamonds is purchased from Tiffany’s trusted suppliers of polished diamonds that have complied with the Diamond Source Warranty Protocol, which warrants the diamonds did not originate in countries with diamond-related human rights concerns, such as Zimbabwe and Angola (even though these diamonds are accepted under the Kimberley Process).
We encourage others in our industry to go beyond the Kimberley Process to protect human rights and the environment.
Responsible Mining Philanthropy
Over the past 15 years, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has provided over USD $20 million in grants to promote responsible mining practices, remediate lands impacted by mining and preserve culturally or environmentally significant lands. The Foundation’s responsible mining program is a vital component of Tiffany’s strategic sustainability efforts, helping us make an impact in the mining sector beyond our Company’s direct supply chain.
The Foundation’s responsible mining program includes grants focused on establishing standards and credible certification systems that will contribute to a fair and viable future for small-scale and artisanal miners (ASM) and their communities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Foundation has advanced responsible practices in the ASM sector through grants to organizations such as the Diamond Development Initiative, which The Tiffany & Co. Foundation supported in creating the Maendeleo Development Standards, the first responsible mining standards for the artisanal diamond industry, and the International Institute for Environment and Development, in building collaborative action among large-scale and small-scale miners and governments.
Beyond improving standards, the Foundation supports the remediation of land in places such as the American West that have been severely affected by the historic mining industry, by supporting organizations such as Trout Unlimited and the Conservation Lands Foundation.
Our Position on Conflict Minerals
Tiffany & Co. has taken a global approach to addressing the most pressing social and environmental issues facing the mining sector, with a focus on precious metals, diamonds and colored gemstones.
We have long recognized that, in some places, mining has been associated with violence, human rights abuses and environmental degradation. However, when managed responsibly, mining can be a source of social and economic development. The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its adjoining countries represents both the challenge and the promise of mining.
We are committed to contributing to a solution in the region—both through our own voluntary initiatives and by complying with the conflict minerals diligence and disclosure requirements of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). While our Company-wide conflict minerals compliance process addresses gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten—the minerals identified by Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank as “conflict minerals”—we believe that, as a jeweler, our largest opportunity is to address the impact of gold sourcing.
In connection with our requirements under Dodd-Frank, we developed a process to evaluate the risk of whether gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten in our supply chain could be originating from the DRC and its adjoining countries and fueling conflict in that region. The Tiffany & Co. Conflict Minerals Policy sets forth Tiffany’s expectations that its applicable suppliers complete annual training on the policy, submit an annual conflict minerals survey, and source from a smelter or refiner that has obtained a “conflict free” designation with an independent private-sector audit. This policy also includes a mechanism for suppliers, employees and others to report concerns regarding potential policy violations.
The Tiffany & Co. Conflict Minerals Policy does not ban our suppliers from sourcing minerals from the DRC or adjoining countries; we believe such a ban would adversely impact the mining communities and businesses operating responsibly in the region. Tiffany & Co.’s 2019 disclosure under Dodd-Frank, including both the Form SD and the Conflict Minerals Report, can be found here.
Responsible Jewellery Council
Tiffany & Co. is a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which seeks to promote responsible and transparent practices throughout the diamond, precious metal and colored gemstone jewelry supply chains. As a certified RJC Member, our status demonstrates that we continue to operate in conformity with the RJC Code of Practices, which address human rights, labor rights, environmental impact, mining practices and product disclosure.
More information about our purchasing practices can be found in the Tiffany & Co. Responsible Purchasing Policy – Worldwide.
Our Sustainability Pillars
At Tiffany, our approach to sustainability underpins all areas of our business.