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MONTREAL, Feb 8 — 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 A. 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.

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