Tiffany & Co. execs talk sustainable supply chains with SWS

by Jillian Brooks (GSB ’15)

Audrey Hepburn was not present, and breakfast was not served. But some members of Fordham’s Smart Woman Securities enjoyed the privilege of sitting down for lunch at Tiffany & Co.’s corporate headquarters on Fifth Avenue this week.

The group had the pleasure of dining with Anisa Costa, president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and vice president of global sustainability and corporate responsibility, and Samara Rudolph, program officer at the foundation and the manager of sustainability and corporate responsibility.

Ms. Costa and Ms. Rudolph explained their company’s commitment to sustainability, which they described as integral to every aspect of the business. From the initial extraction of gemstones and precious metals to the final countertop sale, Tiffany & Co. strives to exert a positive influence on the entire jewelry supply chain.

Just how does Tiffany & Co. implement these responsible practices? The company only establishes partnerships with mines that conform to the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. Ms. Costa and Ms. Rudolph said that Tiffany & Co. stresses traceability: being able to source all of its gemstones and precious metals. The company also is adamant about “beneficiation,” a practice that calls for increased “in-country” production to benefit local communities around mines. Tiffany & Co. applies beneficiation most notably in Botswana, where diamonds are also cut and polished to maximize the local economic contribution.

Preservation is another aspect. The speakers discussed how Tiffany & Co. strives to recycle old mines into useful agricultural lands, and refuses to mine in certain wildlife environments. The company will not mine or conduct business with the proposed Pebble Gold Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, for example, due to environmental concerns.

Ms. Costa and Ms. Rudolph predicted that sustainable business practices will be essential in the future. Finance, accounting and marketing departments all will take part in developing them and putting them into practice. The SWS group finished lunch with the belief that corporate responsibility is an exciting, thriving concept that will provide a multitude of opportunities and careers.

 

 

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