Friday, December 9, 2022

For Tiffany & Co., It’s Not a Diamond If It’s Not Ethical and Sustainable

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Sustainability and ethics have been driving forces at Tiffany & Co. for more than two decades. And the luxury jeweler says that ethos is becoming an even bigger part of its operations moving forward.

In its 2025 Sustainability Goals report, Tiffany & Co. says it not only celebrates love in the world but it inspires love for the world, too.

That’s always been the goal for the brand that’s inching toward its 200th birthday. Charles Lewis Tiffany founded Tiffany & Co. in New York in 1837, and long iconic, the jewelry brand cemented its status as the luxury aspiration at the center of Truman Capote’s novel-turned-film-classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Tiffany & Co. doesn’t take this status lightly. Twenty-five years ago, it started its responsible sourcing journey for diamonds and gemstones. That’s evolved into the brand’s driving ethos, extending out to all areas of its business, illustrated most recently in its 2025 Sustainability Goals report, a target the company says will serve as its north star “and guide us on our sustainability journey over the coming years,” Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chairman & President, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation said in a statement.

“The bar for Sustainability leadership continues to rise, and we cannot rest on our laurels. It is critical for us to have a strong plan in place to guide our actions and show how we are continuing to work towards creating a positive impact on people and the planet.”

Responsible sourcing

The company says 100 percent of individually registered diamonds will be traceable by 2025. This includes traceability to mines or supplier-approved mines.

In 2020, it announced an industry first in diamond traceability, disclosing the country of origin for each stone over 0.18 carats.

Gal Gadot for Tiffany & Co.
Gal Gadot for Tiffany & Co. | Courtesy

“Last year, we became the first global luxury jeweller to share the diamonds’ full craftsmanship journey – including the cutting, polishing, and setting location; all this information will be shared with our clients for each newly sourced, individually registered diamond,” Tiffany & Co.’s Chief Gemologist Victoria Reynolds told Harper’s Bazaar.

“Our Diamond Craft Journey is an industry first, and one we are delighted to pioneer, providing complete traceability for our high jewellery collections. The 2021 Blue Book Collection, our latest high jewellery collection, focuses on Tiffany’s expertise in stunning-coloured gemstones, which the brand brought to the American jewellery lexicon from the early 1900s.”

Reynolds says sourcing gemstones is a quest. “We travel extensively, searching for these miracles of nature that inspire us – and our designs. Every single one is hand-selected; sometimes we find the gemstones and, other times, they magically find us. It can take years to find the perfect stone for a specific design and, other times, the stone reveals itself and we know that it must be ours.”

Traceability efforts also extend to its precious metals for all gold, silver, and platinum either to mine or recycler. That goal was achieved last year.

Sustainability initiatives

Consumers want sustainable diamond and jewelry options. According to a 2021 report from De Beers, as younger shoppers seek out diamonds and jewelry, they’re more likely to favor sustainable and ethically-sourced products and even pay premiums for them.

“Operating responsibly is now the baseline of consumer expectations, but beyond knowing their purchase has caused no harm, consumers also want to know how their purchases have helped create a better future for people and the planet,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said in a statement.

Courtesy

And for Tiffany & Co., it’s not just the diamond maker’s materials that are part of its sustainability initiatives. By 2025 it says it will achieve net-zero emissions. All energy generation will come from renewable resources and the remaining operations will be offset. Part of that comes by measures started last year that include LEED Silver or higher certifications for all new construction, including expansions, renovations, and interior fitouts. The jeweler currently operates more than 300 stores worldwide.

It’s removing plastic, too, and all key materials for products, packaging, and store interiors will be responsibly sourced as part of the Tiffany & Co. Sustainable Material Guidance.

According to Reynolds, the brand wants to make sure that it’s “continuing to evolve and improve as the world changes,” she said. That includes identifying key climate risks, analyzing potential impacts, and incorporating preventative and responsive actions. The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has awarded more than $85 million in grants to nonprofits since its launch 20 years ago. Its efforts focus on responsible mining as well as coral and marine conservation.

“While we are proud of the progress we have made after more than 20 years, investing in social and environmental responsibility, ” Reynolds said, “we are continuously innovating our approach in response to the changing business context and evolving stakeholder expectations; we want to make sure that we’re continuing to evolve and improve as the world changes.”

Social impact platform Atrium

Earlier this year, Tiffany & Co. launched the social impact platform Atrium to help foster a more equitable and inclusive jewelry industry. It’s kicked off with a number of programs, including the About Love Scholarship Program, Tiffany & Co. and Harlem’s Fashion Row: ICON 360 HBCU Summit, and LVMH Métiers d’Excellence Institute.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Tiffany Atrium platform, creating a centralized hub for our continued journey in the worlds of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Anthony Ledru, Tiffany & Co. CEO said in a statement earlier this year.

tiffany co ethical diamonds
Jay-Z and Beyoncé for Tiffany & Co. | Courtesy

“Through Tiffany Atrium, we have broadened access and exposure for HBCU students and diverse talents over the past several months,” Mary Bellai, Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Tiffany & Co., said in a statement. “From the second year of our About Love Scholarship campaign to our first LVMH Métiers d’Excellence apprenticeship program and connection with the Harlem’s Fashion Row, we have made meaningful progress towards our goals.”

The About Love Scholarship program is in partnership with Beyoncé and Jay-Z organizations BeyGOOD and the Shawn Carter Foundation. It provides scholarship funding for students in the arts and other creative fields at HBCUs. More than 60 students received scholarship funding last year and 60 more are expected this year.

The platform also recently partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row to sponsor the ICON 360 HBCU Summit, an event “dedicated to transforming art and fashion programs at HBCUs across North America by providing direct design expertise from industry experts that will advance the next generation of diverse creative talent.” Tiffany & Co. is sponsoring the ten-week “Tenacity Talks” lecture series running through next spring at North Carolina A&T State University.

“At Tiffany & Co., we have a responsibility to enact positive change in our world,” Ledru said. “Tiffany Atrium will allow us to streamline and scale the necessary processes in doing so.”

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