Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold

Well, after many years of work and many   more years of dreaming, it was a privilege during December 2009 to be involved on behalf of the Alliance for Responsible Mining [ARM], an organisation that I helped to establish in 2005, to see Boards of ARM and The Fairtrade Labelling Organisation International [FLO e.V] approve the establishment of international standards for the certification of Fairtrade & Fairmined gold from small scale artisanal miners. The agreement was signed on the 21st January 2010.

As many readers of this column will know, certified fairtrade gold has been a dream of mine and many others over the last decade and it is a very exciting prospect to know it will become a living reality by the end of this year.

This whole project represents what I believe to be the most important evolution in the gold supply chain and market in modern history. It will mean that for the first time ever there is a third party independently certified source of gold and platinum available to the jewellery market and the jewellery buying consumer. For the responsible small scale miners who have been the bedrock of the process, it will mean they will not only be a new evolutionary model of responsible small scale miner to the global community, but they will receive a premium on their production that will go directly back to their own community development.

The whole fairtrade gold process has also been an example of what a partnership between two organisations of shared values can achieve. Both ARM and FLO have worked to bring this idea to life. The project has involved the setting of the Fairtrade &Fairmined Standard for Gold and Associated Precious Metals to work with small-scale miners to ensure the system works on the ground. It has meant talking to the jewellery industry about the implications of certified gold hitting the shelf with a special note of thanks to The National Association of Goldsmiths and the Birmingham Assay Office who have been extremely supportive of the whole process. And perhaps most importantly for the jewellery trade, detailed discussions with consumers on whether the idea of Fairtrade and gold jewellery are compatible?

Now we have the exciting job of preparing the UK market for adoption, publishing the Fairtrade & Fairmined Standard, bringing small-scale miners into the Fairtrade system and developing a communications strategy. There are already many interested companies from various part of the gold jewellery supply chain and their enthusiasm has been very encouraging. It appears that the UK Jewellery market seems to be gearing up to be the world leader in ethical and Fairtrade jewellery.

The advent of certified gold into the jewellery supply chain represents a tangible way that jewellers and the broader industry can demonstrate their desire for fairer opportunities for small-scale miners. By selling it through our stores we are investing back into the social and environmental well being of our world as well as offering our customers a brand new unique product.

Greg Valerio

The Fair Trade Jeweller

For more information on becoming a part of this exciting development please contact greg@gregvalerio.com