Fair Trade does not just apply to coffee anymore. It applies now to a variety of products and one can even buy Fair Trade gold these days.
Much gold is mined under conditions for miners that could be called adverse at the best and very dangerous at the worse. Especially in parts of Africa where labor is cheap and human rights and human life are not highly regarded.
But now the Fairtrade Foundation and Alliance for responsible Mining (ARM) have taken up the banner with the worlds first Fair Mined and Fair trade gold now launched u the United Kingdom.
There are, at the last count, over twenty jewellers participating in the campaign for a fair deal for Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM).
Royal jeweller Garrard is among 20 companies to launch the first of the gold, which has been used in collections and one-off pieces. Each piece will carry a Fairtrade and Fairmined hallmark. Other Jewellers include, Stephen Webster, Jon Dibben and Harriet Kelsall, and each now retail jewellery and gold products made from Fairmined gold. Their consumers will be able to buy fair trade gold before the end of the year.
The Cotapata Mining Co-Operative in Bolivia was the first Fairtrade and Fairmined mining organisation to be certified by independent auditor Flo Cert, with more expected in the coming weeks and months. Greg Valerio, founder of Cred jewellery, said he got into the movement after finding that as a jeweller he was unable to tell customers where the gold in their jewellery had come from. He said: “I think that is an unacceptable reality. What I love about what we’ve done here is that we’ve put the soul back into gold.”
Participating jeweller Stephen Webster, creative director of his eponymous brand and Garrard, said: “I’m very very passionate about that fact that people coming into our store now getting engaged, getting married, will be offered the option that they can have Fairtrade gold or conventional gold.”
The gold initially launched in the UK, also benefits mining communities in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador by offering them 95% of the London Bullion Market’s (LBMA) price fix for gold.
Currently ASM”s are at the mercy of middle-men who cheat them on price on the grounds of weight and purity and are offered anything from 35% to 85% of the LBMA fix for their gold, despite the fact that they account for 10% of the world gold production and 90% of the extraction workforce, leaving many miners living on as little as $1 a day.
Miners will be able to earn an extra 5% premium against the LBMA fix if they recover gold without the use of mercury or cyanide.
It is intended to roll the scheme out to other countries with the aim of capturing 5% of the world’s gold jewellery market by 2015. A network of pilots will be launched in Africa soon and then in Asia, enabling more miners to join. ARM said it hopes to introduce three to seven new producer organisations a year, resulting in consumers able to buy fair trade gold and gold jewellery from their local jewellers.