First published in Jewellery Focus magazine on behalf of Fairtrade Foundation.
Since 2005 when I first approached Fairtrade International to bring their considerable expertise in Fairtrade certification of impoverished producers and linking this to the consumer through labelling, to gold, the journey has been an exhilarating one and not without the predicted challenges that any new Fairtrade product faces when it reaches the market. Fairtrade’s vision for the 25 million or so artisanal and small-scale (ASM) dollar a day gold miners is;
- A world in which miners working in the ASM sector can enjoy a sustainable livelihood for themselves, their families and communities.
- To deliver significant market demand for Fairtrade certified ASM products by building long term partnerships with companies in the jewellery and gold markets around the world.
- To raise consumer awareness of the ASM sector by connecting miners and consumers through the Fairtrade label and certification programme.
If this sounds dry and bland it may well be for us, but for the artisanal miner it represents the politics of daily bread and a way out of the relentless grind of daily poverty and insecurity. It is the human story of the vast majority in the gold mining sector, who do not share the benefits of the value of gold, that is driving more and more jewellers, activists, companies and brands to partner with Fairtrade to address this injustice. Whatever the size of your operation fairtrade have developed business models that means participating in the change could not be easier. The Goldsmiths Scheme ensures that the small hobbyist, ethical metalsmith can buy from authorised suppliers and make a Fairtrade claim. For jewellery companies and brands the demand for traceable gold, built on the ‘best in class’ standard in ASM gold sourcing is as simple as contacting Victoria Waugh at the Fairtrade Foundation and asking to become a license holder. When we become license holders and use FT gold the legacy we leave in mining communities is phenomenal, better health and safety, environmental improvements, minimum prices and the Fairtrade premium for community development and much more.
By integrating FT gold into the fabric of the UK jewellery supply chain, it is becoming easier and more affordable every day for jewellers to adopt Fairtrade sourcing practices. Easy in the sense we have large national suppliers making their entire catalogues available upon request, and jewellers are only paying $3.80USD per gram extra, or an average of £10 per wedding ring on the retail price. So with the big ‘I DO’ consumer campaign starting in January 2015, now is the best time to find out how you can become a part of international Fairtrade gold revolution that has UK jewellers at its forefront.
To find an authorised supplier please visit http://www.fairgold.org/authorised-suppliers/