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Beyond Blood Diamonds: What Can CSR Achieve at Tiffany?

Tiffany and Co.

Famed international jeweler Tiffany and Company has recently signaled its intent to expand a metrics-driven CSR and sustainability program from its Madison Avenue headquarters. This is exciting news for the field, as it is hard to imagine a global corporation with a more mythic brand resonance. With a reported 19% share of the global jewelery market, Tiffany is a formidable luxury player and has an enviable potential sphere of influence with respect to moving a performance-driven CSR market. So, speaking theoretically, what should a robust CSR strategy at one of the world’s most prestigious consumer faces look like?

Of course, Tiffany could begin measuring and managing its carbon footprint at its retail locations and corporate offices. And this could subsequently grow into a broader measurement strategy focusing on reductions in water and waste (ensuring the turquoise packaging comes from certified sources).

But the real opportunity for Tiffany to flex its muscle and make waves would be to lead the effort to create a certified diamond and precious stone standard. TransFair USA has been attempting to be the first to bring a diamond certification standard to market emphasizing fair and equitable trade practices. Tiffany should jump into this space by bearing part of the research and development costs and pressuring its suppliers to release the requisite information required to construct a standard.

The scourge of conflict diamonds has become more of a mainstream concern of late. But while these publicized tales of blood diamonds may cause a fraction of consumers to demand to know the origins of their engagement rocks, broader transparency in the jewelery procurement business is needed. Any why shouldn’t the turquoise box be a symbol of integrity in global business in addition to being a riveting surprise?

Written by Lane Jost

A lifelong conservationist, angler, gardener and writer, Lane is a Corporate Responsibility strategy consultant based in Chicago, where he currently works a CR consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Prior to joining PwC, Lane was a global sustainability performance and stakeholder engagement specialist for Sodexo North America. He has experience in microfinance program evaluation at Grameen Foundation. A former President of the Net Impact Chapter at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Lane has a master's in International Development Economics from the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD (IR/PS) and a bachelor's in history and international studies from Kenyon College. Prior to working in the sustainable business sphere, Lane spent six years as a communications and marketing professional focusing on arts and culture in New York City, where his work included the creation of the jazz website gothamjazz.com and serving as the publicist for the New York Philharmonic.

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  1. Interesting little article. I have a feeling that Tiffany is developing a sustainable program for only its retail stores and corporate locations. They also need to look at the whole picture from when the stones are mined to when they appear on the store shelf. If they can accomplish this consumers will notice their true efforts and reword them accordingly.

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