Tiffany & Co. chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski is calling on fellow jewelers to take a stand against the proposed Pebble Partnership gold and copper mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
“I think the jewelry industry needs to speak up,” he tells JCK. “It’s in the collective interest of our industry that this mine not be built.”
“We recognize that mining is essential to our business,” he continues. “Customers expect precious metals and gemstones to be mined responsibly. Jewelry customers want a clean transparent supply chain that they can feel good about.”
The mine has been plagued by controversy, with environmental groups rallying members against it and Alaska Senator Mark Begich coming out in opposition.
Tiffany has spoken up against the project in the past and in 2008 hosted the screening of an anti-mine film. But Kowalski says it’s been quieter lately, pending the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s watershed assessment of the mine.
In January, that assessment was released, with the agency determining that the mine’s construction presents “numerous risks” to the area’s ecology, particularly its salmon-supporting streams and wetlands. And now Kowalski says Tiffany plans to become vocal again and will take out ads urging the EPA to block its construction.