Birks & Mayors


BIRKS & MAYORS ENDORSES BOREAL FOREST CONSERVATION
 
08/02/2007 Return to Press Room
 
Press Release
 
For immediate release                    
 
 
BIRKS & MAYORS ENDORSES BOREAL FOREST CONSERVATION 
 
Canada’s Premier Jewellery Retailer
 Calls for More Responsible Gold and Diamond Mining
 


MONTREAL, February 8, 2007  — Birks & Mayors Inc. (Amex: BMJ), a leading operator of luxury jewellery stores, today announced its support for the protection of Canada’s Boreal Forest, the largest unspoiled ecosystem left on the planet and one of the last lines of defence against global warming, from expanding industrial development. With this announcement, Birks became the first Canadian jeweller to call for more socially and environmentally responsible production of gold and diamonds.
 
Birks & Mayors signed onto the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a vision and commitment to the long-term sustainability of Canada’s Boreal region. The Boreal Framework was launched in 2003 and is led by the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI).

 
“For 128 years, Birks has lived by a set of principles to fully meet the responsibilities of corporate citizenship by contributing to the well-being of society and the environment in which it operates,” said Thomas Andruskevich, President and CEO of Birks & Mayors.  "We feel it is our obligation, as Canada's leading jeweler, to take the lead in the effort to protect the Boreal region and to support sustainable and responsible mining."
 
Birks & Mayors becomes the world’s first luxury jewellery retailer to join environmental, industry, and Aboriginal leaders in this ambitious effort to protect the ecological and cultural integrity of Canada’s vast boreal forest.  Over 60 companies worth $30 billion in annual sales have backed the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.
 
“The Canadian Boreal Initiative applauds Birks & Mayors for being the first jewellery retailer to offer its support to the conservation of Canada’s Boreal region – an ecosystem of global importance for its intact forest, migratory bird habitat and wildlife,” said Larry Innes, Acting Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative.  “Gold and diamond exploration and mining activities are rapidly expanding across Canada’s fragile Boreal Forest and we are pleased that Birks & Mayors is publicly supporting the need to ensure that these activities are conducted in a socially and environmentally responsible way.” 
 
Birks & Mayors also announced its endorsement of the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules, a set of social, environmental, and human rights principles to guide more responsible gold production. The No Dirty Gold campaign is aimed at reforming destructive mining practices and is led by the international relief and development organization Oxfam America and the environmental organization EARTHWORKS.
 
“Birks & Mayors is taking a unique leadership position with regard to corporate environmental stewardship, both in terms of a commitment to responsible sourcing and turning such a commitment into real results in the Canadian Boreal,” said Stephen D’Esposito, Executive Director of EARTHWORKS in Washington D.C.
 
Since the No Dirty Gold campaign was launched three years ago, more than 55,000 consumers have signed a petition urging jewelry retailers to ensure that the gold they are selling is not produced at the expense of communities and the environment.  Birks & Mayors became the first Canadian jeweller to endorse the Golden Rules, joining more than a dozen other major jewellery retailers including Cartier, the Zale Corp., and Tiffany & Co.
 
Birks & Mayors Inc. is a leading operator of luxury jewellery stores in the United States and Canada.  The Company operates 38 stores (Birks Brand) across most major metropolitan markets in Canada and 29 stores (Mayors Brand) across Florida and Georgia.  Birks was founded in 1879 and developed over the years into Canada’s premier retailer, designer and manufacturer of fine jewellery, timepieces, sterling and plated silverware and gifts.  

 
Based in Ottawa, the Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst by supporting a variety of on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

 
The No Dirty Gold campaign, a joint initiative of EARTHWORKS and Oxfam America, is working to educate consumers, retailers, and the general public about the impacts of irresponsible gold mining, and to enlist their support to reform harmful mining practices. The campaign is not calling for a boycott of gold. It is calling on the mining industry to provide alternatives to irresponsibly mined gold, which today is too often produced at the expense of communities, workers, and the environment.

 
A backgrounder is attached
 
For further information, please contact:
 
Michelle Laberge                                                        Christine Choury
Director of Public Relations                         Director of Communications
Birks & Mayors Inc                                        Canadian Boreal Initiative
T: (514) 871-4059                                       T : 613 230 4739 – Ext. 222
C: (514) 516-0027                                                      C : 613 355 6513
mlaberge@birksandmayors.com                   cchoury@borealcanada.ca
 

Radhika Sarin
International Campaign Coordinator
EARTHWORKS
C: 212-729-4923
rsarin@earthworksaction.org
 
 
For more information, visit: 
 
Birks & Mayors: www.birksandmayors.com
Canadian Boreal Initiative: www.borealcanada.ca
No Dirty Gold: www.nodirtygold.org
 
 
BACKGROUNDER
 
About Birks & Mayors:
Birks & Mayors Inc. is a leading operator of luxury jewellery stores in the United States and Canada.  The Company operates 38 stores (Birks Brand) across most major metropolitan markets in Canada and 29 stores (Mayors Brand) across Florida and Georgia.  Birks was founded in 1879 and developed over the years into Canada’s premier retailer, designer and manufacturer of fine jewellery, timepieces, sterling and plated silverware and gifts.  The company posted annual sales of US $274.3 million in 2005 and hires over 1100 employees in Canada and the United States. 
 
About the Canadian Boreal Initiative:
The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) was created in response to both the opportunities and threats facing Canada’s Boreal region and works with a wide range of conservation organizations, First Nations groups and governments to links science, policy and conservation activities in Canada’s boreal forest.
 
The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework seeks to permanently protect at least 50 percent of the Canada’s Northern Boreal Forest from expanding industrial development. At 1.4 billion acres, the Boreal Forest is one of the world’s last great forest ecosystems and a major source of North America’s freshwater. Hundreds of Aboriginal communities live in the forest and depend on its clean water and wildlife. Because the Boreal Forest is rich in minerals, including gold and diamonds, mining has rapidly become a serious threat to both the ecological and cultural integrity of the region. A wide range of companies worth over US $30 billion in annual sales have very recently endorsed the Framework including Limited Brands/Victoria Secret, Patagonia, Mountain Equipment Coop, Seventh Generation, and Birks & Mayors.
 
About the No Dirty Gold campaign:
The No Dirty Gold campaign, a joint initiative of EARTHWORKS and Oxfam America, is working to educate consumers, retailers, and the general public about the impacts of irresponsible gold mining, and to enlist their support to reform harmful mining practices. The campaign is not calling for a boycott of gold. It is calling on the mining industry to provide alternatives to irresponsibly mined gold, which today is too often produced at the expense of communities, workers, and the environment.
 
Under current practices, the production of a single gold ring generates, on average, 20 tons of waste. Gold mining has caused massive environmental destruction, contaminated fisheries and fresh water, and displaced tens of thousands of rural farming, fishing, and ranching communities. Because about 80 percent of gold is used to make jewellery, the commitment from jewellers to the Golden Rules sends a strong signal that there is a demand for more responsibly mined gold.
 
The Golden Rules are a set of social, environmental, and human rights principles to guide more responsible gold production. These include:
·         Respect for basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law; 
·         Free, prior, and informed consent from affected communities; 
·         Respect for workers' rights and labor standards;
·         Protecting parks and natural reserves from mining; and,
·         Protecting oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams from mining wastes.