Tiffany’s Chairman Says Coral Too Precious to WearSeptember 17, 08
Michael Kowalski, chairman and chief executive of Tiffany & Co, said his company would continue to ban coral jewelry from its stores and support research of coral reefs to help preserve the endangered eco systems.
“To destroy our coral resources for something as insignificant as coral jewelry defies both scientific and economic logic, and simple common sense. Some things are indeed too precious to wear,” Kowalski said while testifying at the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans in a statement released on Wednesday.
Kowalski called for Congress to do much more to better define the threats to marine ecosystems, and coral in particular. “Specifically, we are hopeful that Red Coral (Corallium) will be listed under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,” Kowalski said.
“More information is desperately needed, and with that information the effort to inform retailers and consumers about this destructive trade can be greatly strengthened,” Kowalski said, noting that most retail jewelers and consumers are still sadly unaware of the global destruction of coral, and their complicity in that destruction.
He noted that there is enormous concern among consumers about the impact their consumption decisions have upon the environment when they are properly informed.
“As a jeweler, it strikes me that perhaps the greatest tragedy here is the insignificance of coral for the jewelry industry as a whole. And unlike gemstones, pearls, or precious metals, which are vitally important to the industry but can be produced responsibly, there is no such benign possibility for coral jewelry,” Kowalski said.