Protecting Human Rights
Tiffany & Co. has been vocal and proactive in doing its part to address human rights risks in the jewellery industry, and in 2020 we formalised our commitment through a new Human Rights Policy. Our policy, which aligns with the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, as well as other international human rights laws and standards, outlines the key areas of potential human rights impacts across our business, as well as the Company’s approach to stakeholder engagement, grievance mechanisms and governance. The new policy brings under one framework a number of our existing policies and procedures that have long been in place to protect and respect human rights across our operations and supply chain, including our Business Conduct Policy, Supplier Code of Conduct, Statement on Supply Chain Transparency, Conflict Minerals Policy and Human Resources Policies.
Beyond addressing human rights risks, we believe that the jewellery industry can be a positive driver of sustainable livelihoods and economic development. Within our own operations, our vertical integration model allows us to maintain a strong chain of custody throughout our supply chain. Because we operate our own diamond cutting and polishing and jewellery manufacturing facilities, we are able to foster safe and healthy working environments for our manufacturing employees and help uphold high standards to prevent child labour and other human rights abuses. We also seek to hire our manufacturing workforce primarily from local communities, provide those employees with skill-building training and pay them a living wage in developing countries. We believe these efforts will positively contribute to the well-being of not only our employees but also their communities.
Human Rights in Our Gold and Diamond Supply Chains
For the second time, we are proud to have earned a “Strong” ranking for our responsible sourcing practices by Human Rights Watch in its 2020 “Sparkling Jewels, Opaque Supply Chains” report. Human Rights Watch highlighted our work to advance transparency through our Diamond Source Initiative and our work to purchase responsible artisanal gold from the innovative Salmon Gold project, among other efforts. We are honoured to be the only luxury jeweller to have received this recognition of our commitment to respecting human rights, reducing environmental impacts and contributing in a positive way to the communities where we operate. Tiffany & Co. has long understood that responsibly sourcing precious metals and diamonds represents our greatest impact and thus our greatest opportunity. We believe we can always do more, and this drives our commitment to continuous improvement. We value our ongoing dialogue and collaboration with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), suppliers and others in the jewellery industry to make meaningful progress on these important issues, and we are proud of what has been achieved so far.
“Beyond addressing human rights risks, we believe that the jewellery industry can be a positive driver of sustainable livelihoods and economic development.”
Tiffany & Co. is proud to be a global pioneer in developing ways to properly compensate our workforce in developing countries. For more than 10 years, we have worked with independent researchers to develop a methodology for determining a location-specific living wage.
Historically, determining an appropriate living wage has been difficult because costs and cultural norms vary around the world. The Anker Methodology, which we helped pioneer with statistician Martha Anker and economist Richard Anker, measures the local cost of a basic decent standard of living. This includes food, housing, transportation, education and health care and other essential needs—and then adds a reasonable margin for discretionary activities and emergencies. By paying a living wage according to this methodology, and adjusting it annually based on changes in the local cost of living, we aim to support our employees’ full livelihoods.
Since piloting the Anker Methodology in our manufacturing facility in Vietnam, we have used this method to determine living wages for employees at our manufacturing facilities in Botswana, Mauritius, Cambodia and the Dominican Republic. We believe that paying a living wage benefits the lives of our employees, their families and their communities through, for example, improved housing, nutrition and transportation. Our living wage program covers all full-time regular employees at these locations.
We are pleased that the Anker Methodology is becoming the gold standard to measure living wage. Through the Global Living Wage Coalition, several of the world’s most influential sustainability standards organisations have joined together with the ISEAL Alliance to recognise this approach and implement it more broadly across various industries and countries.
Economic Beneficiation and Local Development
We have long worked to use the power of our business as a force for social good, and we are dedicated to improving local economies everywhere we work.
As of 2020, we hired 99%* of our international manufacturing workforce, comprised of over 3,800 employees, directly from the communities around our operations.
We see the impact of this approach everywhere we work. For instance, our polishing facility in the capital of Gaborone, Botswana provides skilled jobs, sustainable incomes and training and development. As of 2020, 100% of the polishers at our Botswana facility were hired from the local community.
Our investment in Botswana and in our operations in other developing countries around the world boosts the economic potential of those communities through payroll and benefits, community donations, training and development, taxes and payments to local suppliers. In Calendar Year 2020, we provided approximately USD $44 million* in economic benefits to Botswana’s economy.
Supporting Human Rights Defenders
We recognise the role that human rights defenders play in creating open and just societies. We also recognise that the protection of civic freedoms—including freedom of expression, assembly and association—and respect for the rule of law are important for both business and society more broadly. In select cases, we use our voice and the power of the Tiffany & Co. brand to speak out about the protection of human rights and to support human rights defenders who act peacefully in defense of fundamental rights. We have also used our position in the industry to call for change. In 2015, we signed a letter along with other business leaders, calling for the release of Angolan journalist Rafael Marques, who was facing imprisonment for exposing human rights abuses in the diamond sector. We continue to engage on the issues faced by human rights defenders and seek to collaborate with others to leverage the collective influence of the private sector in standing up for human rights.
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