Tiffany & Co. Goes Far-Left; Supports Boycott on Expanding U.S. Access to Critical Minerals

Tiffany CEO is “Proud” of Company’s ‘Pre-Boycott’ of Informally-Proposed Critical-Minerals Mine in Alaska

New York, NY / Washington, D.C. – All gold doesn’t glitter equally at Tiffany & Co. At today’s annual meeting of Tiffany shareholders in New York City, National Center for Public Policy Research Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. confronted Tiffany CEO Michael Kowalski over his company’s irrational decision to boycott a mining project that doesn’t exist.

“I asked Kowalski if a more reasonable approach to boycotting a mining project would be to wait until a final mine site plan is proposed, evaluate the plan on its merits, and if he and his management team conclude the proposed mining project is unsafe, boycott the proposed mine at that time,” said Danhof. “According to Kowalski, waiting for the all the facts and a formal plan, as I suggested, is ‘unreasonable.’ In reality, what is unreasonable is to jump the gun and boycott a project that would create jobs and expand U.S. access to critical minerals before a formal mining plan has been proposed.”

The “disputed” issue is a yet-to-be formally proposed mining project in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, by the Pebble Partnership. At this time, the partnership has not applied for a single state or federal permit. Yet Kowalski already claims to know the dangers the possible mine will reap on the region, and is comfortable asserting in advance that Tiffany will boycott all materials from the mine.

The National Center for Public Policy Research believes issues surrounding the proposed mine have national security implications, and questions whether businesses and interest groups that have joined the ‘pre-boycott’ – so named because it is impossible to boycott the use of minerals from a mine that has not yet been formally planned, let alone built – have even evaluated the national security considerations.

Tiffany joined the boycott of Pebble, a boycott officially known as the Bristol Bay Protection Pledge, at the behest of a radical environmental organization known as Earthworks. Funded by extreme-left groups such as the Tides Foundation, Earthworks uses bad science and scare tactics to foment opposition to energy and mining projects such as the Pebble Mine and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Estimates place the value of a potential Pebble Mine at $400 billion, and the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that “Pebble could potentially triple U.S. reserves of copper, increase its gold reserves by 50 percent and make America the world’s largest holder of mineral molybdenum, an essential component of high-strength steel alloys.” The mine could also create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,000 high-paying operational jobs in the impoverished region.

“I asked Kowalski how he could possibly know the dangers of a mining operation that has not yet been formally planned, and he responded by claiming that I was taking an anti-jobs position because, he claims, the mine would destroy fishing jobs in the region. In doing so, Kowalski is simply repeating the mantra of Earthworks and its allies who have been promoting bad science as a means to grow opposition amongst the corporate community and local villages,” said Danhof.

On Tiffany’s website, Kowalski has stated: “there are certain places where mining cannot be done without forever destroying landscapes, wildlife and communities. We believe Bristol Bay is one such place.” And the jewelry company also took out a full-page advertisement in National Geographic expressing opposition to the mine.

“In the meeting, Kowalski took this one step further and actively called on the Environmental Protection Agency to use its powers under the Clean Water Act to stop the Pebble Project in its path,” noted Danhof. “The EPA appears more than willing to do Kowalski’s bidding.”

In May 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a highly critical report of the Pebble Mine project, but the report was based on a hypothetical mine that the EPA concocted. In a new paper, “The EPA’s Pebble Mine Assessment Puts Politics Above Sound Science,” National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. explains that “[b]y releasing its report before the permitting process has even begun, the EPA has reached a premature, if not predetermined, conclusion about a proposed mining project on the basis of woefully inadequate information in way that ignores requirements of law that the developer must follow.”

“In responding to my question, Kowalski also took the opportunity to take a shot directly at the Pebble Partnership, saying that he has heard them make many similar arguments and he wasn’t buying them from them or me,” added Danhof. “Kowalski said he has been to Alaska many times and feels strongly that he is taking the best position for his company, but it seemed clear to me that he is not willing to listen to rational arguments and can only hear what he wants to hear regarding Pebble.”

Statements made by the Pebble Partnership can be evaluated by visiting its website here.

“After the meeting, Kowalski approached me and thanked me for having a discussion with him, stating that ‘reasonable people can disagree.’ While I appreciated the gesture, his words rang hollow after he called my appeal for due process on Pebble unreasonable,” said Danhof. “Kowalski thinks I am a reasonable person with unreasonable ideas. That doesn’t add up.”

Since January 1, 2013, the National Center has participated in free-market/conservative activism at 24 shareholder meetings. Today’s Tiffany & Co. meeting moves that total to 25.

A copy of Danhof’s question at today’s shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

Danhof asked a similar question to Zales CEO Theo Killion last December. Te read more about the National Center’s activism at Zales, see here, here and here.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Tiffany & Co. shareholder.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. In 2012-13, zero percent of its contributions have come from mining interests or related foundations.

Contributions to The National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.