The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Tiffany & Co. heightens public awareness of responsible mining issues and supports the development of broadly acceptable standards for responsible mining

Case study: How Tiffany & Co. heightens public awareness of responsible mining issues and supports the development of broadly acceptable standards for responsible mining

Diamond and precious metal supply chains can be long, complex and often lacking in transparency. As a result, most people – including many jewelry retailers – traditionally knew little about who mined their jewelry materials and how. Together with jewelry industry associations and concerned nongovernmental organizations, Tiffany & Co. tries to lead the jewelry industry in responsible mining.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2014 Sustainability Report by Tiffany & Co. published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.

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Tiffany & Co. is committed to obtaining precious metals and gemstones in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible and, as a long-time leader in the jewelry industry, works to advance rigorous responsible mining standards. After measuring and setting targets, Tiffany & Co. took action to develop a globally recognized standard for responsible mining, advance responsible business practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum jewelry supply chain, embrace social, human rights and environmental standards for the extraction of gold, identify best practices across the entire jewelry supply chain and, also, support the development of standards for the responsible mining of precious metals and gemstones at the artisanal level.

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2014 Sustainability Report Tiffany & Co. identified a range of material issues, such as ethical sourcing, governance, building footprint, Tiffany & Co. employees, charitable giving. Among these, collaborating with other forward-looking leaders in the jewelry industry and with nongovernmental organizations to heighten public awareness of responsible mining issues and support the development of broadly acceptable standards for responsible mining stands out as a key material issue for Tiffany & Co.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Tiffany & Co. engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Employees
Stockholders
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
Industry members
Supply chain partners
Local communities
Industry associations

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

Sustainability is inherently collaborative and stakeholder-driven. Tiffany & Co. has long recognized and embraced the integral role that stakeholders play in its business, including Tiffany & Co. employees, stockholders, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), industry members and supply chain partners. Tiffany & Co. values its stakeholders’ involvement in improving practices across the industry and throughout the jewelry supply chain.

Longstanding relationships with NGOs provide Tiffany & Co. with important perspectives on environmental and labor issues facing its industry. Tiffany & Co. co-hosts and participates in dialogues and multistakeholder initiatives convened by NGOs on a variety of topics affecting its industry and beyond. Engaging with mining companies, the luxury industry, local communities and industry associations gives Tiffany & Co. an opportunity to shape best practices across the sector. It also ensures that diverse points of view are considered in efforts to raise the bar on responsible mining standards and supply chain management matters.

What actions were taken by Tiffany & Co. to heighten public awareness of responsible mining issues and support the development of broadly acceptable standards for responsible mining?

In its 2014 Sustainability Report Tiffany & Co. set the following targets for heightening public awareness of responsible mining issues and supporting the development of broadly acceptable standards for responsible mining, based on the company’s approach to materiality – on taking action on what matters, where it matters:

  • Developing a globally recognized standard for responsible mining

Tiffany & Co. believes the jewelry sector needs an independently verifiable mining assurance system that establishes rigorous standards for social and environmental performance. To that end, Tiffany & Co. is a founding member and continues to serve on the steering committee of IRMA (Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance). Tiffany & Co. is hopeful that by working collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders, IRMA will be successful in developing a consensus-based, third-party certification standard that will be widely embraced by companies that use mined materials, the mining sector, civil society and, most importantly, consumers. After years of important dialogue, debate and productive compromise, IRMA released its draft Standard for Responsible Mining for public comment in 2014 and solicited feedback from diverse audiences. This process represented a critical milestone for the multistakeholder initiative. In 2015, IRMA planned to pilot the draft standard and release a revised draft for a second round of review, comments and revisions before a final standard was adopted. IRMA seeks to launch a standard that includes: a) a certification standard developed through a multistakeholder approach with participation from mining companies, retailers, nonprofits, labor groups and indigenous peoples, b) independent third-party verification, c) fair and equitable distribution of benefits to affected mining communities and the protection of their rights, d) the avoidance of, and effective responsiveness to, potential negative impacts to the environment, health, safety and culture, d) enhancement of shareholder value.

  • Advancing responsible business practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum jewelry supply chain

Tiffany & Co. is a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). The RJC is an international nonprofit organization established to advance business practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum jewelry supply chain. The RJC developed the Principles and Code of Practices, which outline responsible business practices to which all RJC members must adhere. Tiffany & Co. was initially certified in 2011. In 2014, Tiffany & Co. again received RJC Member Certification for its global operations through 2017. This certification demonstrates that Tiffany & Co. operates in conformity with the RJC Principles and Code of Practices. However, Tiffany & Co. encourages the RJC to strengthen its standard – from developing a true multi-stakeholder governance model that incorporates civil society to raising the bar for minimum certification requirements.

  • Embracing social, human rights and environmental standards for the extraction of gold

Tiffany & Co. was the first jeweler to embrace the objectives of EARTHWORKS’ No Dirty Gold campaign 10 years ago. No Dirty Gold established aspirational social, human rights and environmental standards for the extraction of gold that retail jewelers can use as they seek responsible mining sources.

  • Identifying best practices across the entire jewelry supply chain

In 2003, Tiffany & Co. helped lead a pioneering multistakeholder conference – including NGOs, retailers, investors, insurers and technical experts – to identify best practices across the entire jewelry supply chain. The resulting dialogue led to the publication of the Framework for Responsible Mining: A Guide to Evolving Standards. The Framework’s goal was to advance productive debate – and, ultimately, action – by governments, retailers, civil society, the mining industry and others.

  • Supporting the development of standards for the responsible mining of precious metals and gemstones at the artisanal level

The Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s Responsible Mining Program provides strategic grants to support the development of standards for the responsible mining of precious metals and gemstones not only at the large-scale level, but also at the artisanal level. There are 20 to 25 million artisanal miners around the world and the Foundation supports nonprofit organizations working directly with artisanal mining communities to improve working conditions and provide equitable livelihoods. Given the often decentralized or informal nature of artisanal mining, certification and standards requirements present unique challenges for this sector. For this reason, artisanal standards-setting requires a different approach than large-scale standards efforts. The development of consensus-based third-party standards is a long-term process, but essential in moving the industry towards a responsible and sustainable future.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-12: Describe the organization’s supply chain – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 102-9 Supply chain

2) G4-16: List memberships of associations (such as industry associations) and national or international advocacy organizations in which the organization:

3) G4-EC8: Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts

4) G4-EC9: Proportion of spending on local suppliers at significant locations of operation – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 204-1 Proportion of spending on local suppliers

5) G4-HR8: Total number of incidents of violations involving rights of indigenous peoples and actions taken – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 411-1 Incidents of violations involving rights of indigenous peoples

6) G4-HR9: Total number and percentage of operations that have been subject to human rights reviews or impact assessments – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 412-1 Operations that have been subject to human rights reviews or impact assessments

7) G4-HR11: Significant actual and potential negative human rights impacts in the supply chain and actions taken – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 414 -2 Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken

8) G4-SO1: Percentage of operations with implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

9) G4-SO2: Operations with significant actual or potential negative impacts on local communities – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Tiffany & Co., located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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