Why Tiffany & Co. Has Supported IRMA Since Inception

January 28, 2015

By Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tiffany & Co. and Chairman and President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation

For over 175 years, extraordinary design, impeccable craftsmanship and a rewarding customer experience have been at the heart of Tiffany & Co. We understand that an integral part of our brand vision is helping to 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.

Tiffany & Co. has supported the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) since inception because we see great value in its multi-sector, consensus-based approach and believe that it will ultimately serve as the most comprehensive standard on responsible mining. Not only will IRMA certification serve to highlight mines that are already operating responsibly, we believe IRMA will do much to improve the entire industry by motivating mine operators to work towards and, ultimately, achieve certification. 

Over the past decade, the demand for responsible and ethical sourcing has increased and we only see this trend continuing to grow. When making a luxury purchase, customers expect only the highest quality materials and best-in-class service. Knowing that the materials have been sourced responsibly and that the company upholds sound business practices is part of the Tiffany brand promise. As such, we work through industry initiatives and our own supply chain to provide that assurance to customers.

As consumers continue to vote with their purchases – and “consumers” includes the very important business-to-business segment – those mines which integrate verifiably robust environmentally and socially responsible practices will have a competitive advantage. Being able to source from IRMA-certified mines will be of great value as we evaluate future purchasing decisions and communicate our sourcing practices. At a time when there are various certification schemes and several product lines based on ethical sourcing principles, IRMA will provide a streamlined label to guide consumers when they purchase products with mined materials.

We’ve witnessed great success in similar certification initiatives, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), in raising the bar for an entire industry and increasing consumer awareness of responsible practices. FSC-certified products are easily recognizable given that the certification label is used across a range of products from tissues to lumber. 

Through several years of thorough preparation, cooperative dialogue and expert consultation, the IRMA draft Standard for Responsible Mining has incorporated varied interests and perspectives from each sector. Though consensus may be difficult at times, the weighty topics which IRMA seeks to address need concrete solutions. As such, we invite our colleagues to comment on the second draft Standard for Responsible Mining when it is released later this year and, in doing so, play a part in transforming the mining industry.

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