Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chairman and President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) at Tiffany & Co., discusses the brand’s sustainability agenda, as well as how it’s striving to improve global corporate standards, minimising its environmental impact and driving partnerships across the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
This article originally appeared in Luxury Briefing 215.
What is the primary focus of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation?
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation was established in 2000 to focus the company’s philanthropic efforts. For 179 years, Tiffany has relied on the bounty of the earth both to supply raw materials for our iconic designs, and to inspire the artisans who create them. By aligning our sustainability initiatives with the grant-making efforts of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, we are working to leave behind a world that is as beautiful as the one we inherited.
Beyond our own supply chain, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation supports organisations that promote responsible mining of precious metals, diamonds and gemstones as well as organisations that assist communities where mining occurs, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
How are Tiffany & Co. helping to improve the mining sector?
Diamond mining, cutting and polishing should be important engines of social development and economic growth. We believe in investing in local manufacturing and transferring both craft and management skills to our workforce and contributing to the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate.
Tiffany is a founding member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), which seeks to establish a certification system for mined materials. Along with requirements related to good governance, fair labour practices and respect for local communities, IRMA certification would include strict protocols for protecting biodiversity.
We believe fine craftsmanship starts with responsibly sourcing high-quality raw materials and continues through the creation of the final piece of jewellery. We source the majority of our rough diamonds and metals directly from mines we know. We are devoted to better understanding the social, economic and environmental impact of the mining and processing of precious materials so that we can create positive change along the supply chain, all the way from the mine to our customers.
How do you encourage environmental awareness within a corporate environment?
Tiffany has a long legacy of operating as a responsible corporate citizen. Our sustainable practices are incorporated into the culture of our organisation. With leadership from the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the Board of Directors, the CEO and Senior Management, Tiffany seeks to integrate and align environmental and social efforts into its long-term business objectives and practices. Our directors, officers and employees are committed to the ethical principles embodied by our company practices and standards.
As a leader in the luxury industry, we recognise the opportunity we have to influence culture and set the standards for excellence – not only in fine jewellery and craftsmanship but also in what it means to be responsible corporate citizens. Unlike other jewellers, we have implemented a vertical integration model that gives us a strong chain of custody, direct oversight of our manufacturing and a voice for improving global standards and conditions.
Whether it’s protecting pristine landscapes like Yellowstone National Park and Bristol Bay from the damaging effects of mining or voicing support for the protection of human rights in Angola and Zimbabwe, we advocate for important issues and encourage others to join us in creating meaningful change. We understand that the long-term resilience of our planet and its natural resources, the wellbeing of our people and the success of our business go hand-in-hand, which is why it is key for us to have a positive impact where we operate.
Tiffany & Co. is such an iconic brand. How do you look to combine customer loyalty with innovations in sustainable business practice?
When a customer holds a Tiffany diamond piece and admires its beauty and brilliance, they can have absolute confidence in how it came to be. They can be assured that the platinum was sourced ethically, the diamonds were mined responsibly, the cutting and polishing contributed to community development. We want to ensure that every customer is proud to own and wear a Tiffany diamond. Our customers deserve to know that we have taken every effort to ensure that their jewellery is sourced and crafted responsibly and with complete integrity.