Fair Trade Jewellery Fairtrade gold Small-Scale Mining Uncategorized

The best gold story in the world

For the incurable romantics amongst us Valentines Day is always a must. Secret cards, red roses that double in price the week before, ‘does she or doesn’t she love me?’ questions and of course the last-minute need to land a piece of jewellery that she will wear with thoughts only of you. If standing behind the counter for many years helping men find the perfect Valentines Gift has taught me anything, it is that contrary to popular belief, Valentines Day is not just a commercial gimmick designed to get us to spend our cash on trash. It is for many a specific day when you can express your love for someone for no other reason than you love them. And jewellery is the traditional gift through which we often choose to express that love.

As all jewellers know it is love, aspiration and beauty that are the underpinnings of our business. Jewellery is one of those unique purchases that transcend normal conventions when it comes to spending money as it often speaks to the heart rather than the head. Yet equally our tokens of love have been brought at more than just the price of the ticket.

The great moral disconnect within the jewellery trade is that it will spend billions each year in brand marketing that screens out the source of our products because they do not conform to the luxury image we wish to portray. Yet the truth of our industry is that our dependence on mining is absolute and that mining is a very dirty, brutish and ugly process, riddled with every kind of corruption, social and environmental abuse imaginable. It is precisely this moral disconnect that Fairtrade Labeling Organisation and Alliance for Responsible Mining have addressed in creating the world’s first independently certified standard for gold.

Fairtrade Fairmined Gold – What is it?

In March 2010, The Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) and The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) launched their joint standard for gold and associated precious metals. This groundbreaking standard for artisanal and small-scale miners means that under the Fairtrade scheme, for the first time in history, the marginal artisanal and small-scale miners will have a tried and tested system that helps them to:
  • Improve the working conditions on the ground
  • Improve the health and safety at the mine
  • Improve the environmental performance of their mine
  • Create a democratic and transparent organisational structure
  • Ensure gender equality throughout the whole organisation

What many of us will not know is that there are over 100 million people globally who are dependent on small-scale mining to earn their living. They are the second biggest mass employment block in the world. yet due to the dominance of large-scale miners (who are a very small number of people) the small-scale miners are marginalised and receive a fraction of the attention they are due. Poverty plays a huge part in the mining sector and the majority of miners are poor.

The Fairtrade Fairmined system is built upon the following foundation
  • A public set of Fairtrade Fairmined standards that determine the minimum and progressive requirements a small-scale mining operation has to achieve to receive Fairtrade Fairmined Certification.
  • An independent 1/3 rd party auditor who verifies that the mine meets the standard and audits all the operators with in the chain of custody against the flow of goods.
  • A minimum price is paid to the mining coop. This guarantees that there is no exploitation of the miners by unscrupulous traders.
  • A Fairtrade Premium is paid on the product. This money is invested into the local
Consumers will see a certified label on the finished product that acts as the guarantee that the producer has received a fair deal throughout the business arrangement. This premium will then be used to improve their communities through investing into health, education and infrastructure.
For the jeweller, goldsmith and consumer this creates a genuinely unique moment. For the first time you will be able to sell gold that has a location, can prove the benefits it is bringing to the mining community and can demonstrate that the gold has come from a legitimate source. It also removes the current ambiguity that exists in the current gold supply chain which means as a jeweller you just don’t know if the gold you are selling is from a clean source is in fact dirty gold. This fairtrade reassurance allows you to look your customer in the eye with total confidence and say ‘This gold has not exploited anyone or any part of the environment in the process’. Fairtrade Fairmined has put the soul back in to gold.For jewellers who want to be license holders of the Fairtrade and Fairmined gold label and get involved in this ground breaking initiative the process is really simple. Contact the Fair trade Foundation in London on 0207 440 7674 and ask for Victoria Waugh or email gold@fairtrade.org.uk. If however you are a manufacturer, a fabricator or a bullion dealer to the gold jewellery trade and you wish to become a part of the audited supply chain you will need to email gold@fairtrade.org.uk. There is also be a dedicated website www.fairgold.org that will  hold all the key information you will need to join the growing list of jewellers throughout the UK who are switching their gold supply to Fairtrade Fairmined
Valentines Day is a celebration of love and all that we value most in life. So it really is the most appropriate time of year to launch such a strong values driven product such as Fairtrade Fairmined Gold

You Might Also Like...

No Comments

  • Reply
    Deborah Miarkowska
    February 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    A beautiful, exceptional historical real life story that will change the lives of many. We celebrate this in awe of your work and congratulate you. We jump for joy at this second Wilberforce moment.
    Best Deborah

  • Leave a Reply