Everyone has heard of Fairtrade these days, but did you know that it can also be applied to gold?
This time last week, I received an email letting me know that I had been accredited with Fairtrade Goldsmith status, meaning that I can now officially make jewellery with certified Fairtrade Gold.
Here's what the Fairtrade Foundation have to say about it:
"...Fairtrade Gold and precious metals is a ground breaking initiative that offers a real lifeline to poor and exploited small-scale miners around the world. It links consumers of jewellery with the source of their purchase. It is this link through Fairtrade standards and certification that makes Fairtrade Gold the best gold in the world...Our passion is to see transparency, traceability, truth and justice embedded into the livelihoods of the millions of artisanal and small-scale miners across the world. Small-scale miners work in very remote, marginal and harsh conditions, doing back breaking work to scrap a living. They are consistently exploited by middle men, and their access to markets is limited and they rarely receive a fair price for their gold.
Artisanal miners find it hard to access legal mining rights, pushing them into running informal and illegal operations, just to put daily bread on the table. They work in hazardous conditions with little or no health and safety measures in place. The unskilled and often ignorant use of toxic chemicals such as mercury poses a sever risk the health of the miners, their communities and their environment.
Fairtrade certified gold is a ground breaking initiative that offers a real lifeline to these miners and their communities. Working with Fairtrade International, mining organisations are able to meet the strict Fairtrade standard on working conditions, child labour, women’s rights, clean technology, health and safety and responsible environmental management to produce a gold product that can be labelled as black Fairtrade.
In return for their efforts, the miners gain market access and receive a minimum price and premium which in turn is used to develop their businesses and invest into their communities social development..."
You can't just go and buy Fairtrade Gold. You have to apply to and be accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation and I am one of only a few jewellers / goldsmith's / whatever you want to call us, that is currently allowed to buy it.
At the moment, Fairtrade Gold is somewhat limited in the forms in which it can be bought but I'm hopeful that in the not so distant future, it will become more popular and everyone will use it as standard.