Jewellery industry urged to use Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to improve lives of disadvantaged miners and their communities.

The jewellery industry now has the opportunity to materially improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged artisanal and small-scale miners in South America. Artisanal and small-scale miners, who produce just 15% of global gold supplies, yet account for 80% of labour in gold extraction, experience high levels of poverty, the Fairtrade Foundation will explain.

Speaking at his seminar ‘Making Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold a Reality: How can the jewellery industry use Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to improve the lives of miners and their communities?’ (1:30pm Sunday 5 September) at International Jewellery London 2010’s Great Debate, Greg Valerio, Business Development Manager for Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will explore how dirty gold and other ethical issues have become a growing concern to the consumer and the trade alike.

The seminar will stimulate debate, provoke thought, share ideas and prompt action around how the Fairtrade Foundation and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) are responding to the ethical challenge presented by current industry practice by combining their expertise in a unique partnership to improve that livelihoods of this marginalised group of miners.

Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold, the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold and associated precious metals, will enable businesses, from designers and retailers to fabricators and distributors, to offer their customers the guarantee of a product which has been responsibly mined. The dual certification scheme  will provide companies with a platform to position themselves  at the cutting edge of industry innovation, by demonstrating their commitment to fair sourcing practices to their customers, suppliers and wider stakeholders such as trade bodies and government and shape the supply chains of the future.

Greg Valerio will say: ‘With jewellery, it’s the thought that counts. People in developed markets such as Europe and North America are increasingly seeking to make ethical lifestyle choices and it’s the most ethically conscious consumers who are setting future market trends, looking for responsible options across a widening range of products such as jewellery.

‘Research shows that people believe buying jewellery for a special occasion holds greater value and significance if it carries the FAIRTRADE and FAIRMINED Marks. The dual stamps reassure both the giver and receive that the miners are getting a better deal’.

The artisanal and small-scale miners who will benefit from Fairtrade and Fairmined certification are characterised by high levels of poverty and trapped in unfair supply chains and currently struggle to get a fair price for the gold they extract. The democratic organisation of miners, combined with added premium and increased access to markets, will allow miners’ organisations to improve the technology and working conditions at their mines, and also to develop community projects in education, health, environmental restoration and other forms of income. This will lead to more enduring and sustainable development in mining communities.

Companies interested in applying for certification of gold products such as jewellery, commemorative coins, ingots, medals, trophies and religious artefacts should register with the Fairtrade Foundation, .  Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be initially launched in the UK and then rolled out to other countries with a long term vision of capturing 5% of the gold jewellery market over a 15-year period, totalling 15 tonnes of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold annually. Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be co-labelled, bearing both the Fairtrade and Fairmined Mark in order to present to the consumer the strength of the partnership between the two organisations.

– ENDS –

Martine Julseth

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 7695/07825 827 791

Neil Martin

Assistant Press Officer

020 7440 7620

Notes to Editors

  1. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label is now recognised by 72% of UK consumers and appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than 7.5 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 58 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
  2. The Fairmined Mark ensures that the gold has been extracted and processed in a fair way and responsible manner. This means that the miners receive a fair price, eliminate child labour, good health and safety practises, care for the environment and participate in the social development of their communities. ARM is an international community-based multi-sector governed initiative created to enhance equity and wellbeing in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. ARM is committed to social justice and environmental responsibility as the values driving the transformation of ASM.
  3. The partnership between the Fairtrade Foundation and ARM will create differentiated market access for gold products to support social, environmental and economic development outcomes for artisanal and small scale miners through:
  • A credible programme of support and development for artisanal and small scale miners.
  • A high profile and trusted product label to drive market access on terms that support development.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) have the experience and networks to provide the necessary support, and Fairtrade labelling to create differentiated market access on terms that support development.

The work of the partners will be communicated publically via product co-labelling: FAIRTRADE Mark as the senior mark, with ARM’s Fairmined Mark as a junior supporting mark. The rationale is to present to the consumer the strength of the partnership without diluting the immediate impact of FAIRTRADE Mark brand recognition.