Fairtrade Gold


The Fairtrade Gold standard represents the pioneering work of the Fairtrade Labeling Organisation. Fairtrade alongside many other international development organisations have worked very diligently to create this ground-breaking opportunity the results of which will create real developmental opportunities for the small-scale miners, their communities and transparent and traceable supplies of gold for jewellers.

Women miners in Uganda struggle to make a daily crust.

Women miners in Uganda struggle to make a daily crust.

Why we need Fairtrade Gold.

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) faces huge challenges in every area. Firstly small-scale miners are the forgotten majority in the mining sector. It is now estimated that over 100 million people globally are dependent on ASM for their livelihoods. ASM is a poverty driven activity with the average daily wage being an estimated $2. Politically national legislators have ignored ASM because it is usually a difficult sector to regulate and control, so advocacy for good legislation is very important to maximize the economic opportunity that ASM presents for southern governments. Also due to the economic vulnerability of miners they are open to exploitation on price by disreputable traders who take advantage of their geographical remoteness and lack of knowledge on pricing to buy cheap gold. Couple all this with the poverty in the sector, the irresponsible use of chemicals like mercury and cyanide in the extraction of the gold, lack of health and safety in ASM and gender inequality, it really is a sector that has needed a  fairtrade intervention for many years.

100% Fairtrade Gold - The best gold story in the world

100% Fairtrade Gold – The best gold story in the world

The Benefits.

Key areas of focus are traceability of supply, social and environmental improvements, labour standards that include the high-profile issue of child labour as well as minimum prices and trading standards from mine to retail so that we could remove the economic exploitation from the supply chain. Also the democratic structure of the small-scale mining group is very important as it is these groups that will handle the premium payments once we go live within 12 months.

For the detail of what this means for miners I would encourage everyone to read the Fairtrade Gold and Precious Metals Standard that is available for download here. Fairtrade_Gold-and-Precious_Metals_2015-04-15_EN

In headline terms in will mean the following improvements for miners.

  • Health & safety requirements
  • Gender equality standards
  • Organisational transparency and democracy.
  • Labour standards
  • Environmental standards
  • Minimum price of 95% of LBMA daily fix
  • Premium paid to mining groups of $2000 USD per kilo
  • Transparent and traceable supply chains
  • Independent third-party certification
  • Producer support for monitoring progress of groups.

Each of these headings are broken down into more detail and then into two sections, minimum requirements that must be complied with to achieve certification and progressive requirements so that each group is focused on making continual improvements over a period of time.

It is expected that this whole evolution in the gold trade will eventually have considerable impacts on the ground for the mining communities as the premium payments will be invested into their own community development projects that impact beyond their immediate coops or family groups. For the consumer of gold jewellery, it will mean an increase in consumer choice, a new market sector that is Fairtrade certified and a brand new industry opportunity to continue to demonstrate its desire to be as ethical as possible.

Who it involves.

The benefits of Fairtrade Gold will positively affect everyone for the good. In short retail brands and jewellers are license holders and will be able to use the marketing collateral of the Fairtrade Gold label on their point of sale.

Traders, refiners, fabricators and manufacturers need to register with FLO-Cert to ensure that the trading standards are being adhered to.

Small-scale miners are the certified producers who mine the gold and associated precious metals, who are the beneficiaries of the Fairtrade premium and minimum price.

This chain of custody approach to jewellery is very different from how the industry has worked in the past, however the mine to retail story for jewellers gives a very real marketing opportunity that has never been available in the gold sector before. A truly unique opportunity for everyone.

Valerio Jewellery is my current offering of bridal and designer collections created exclusively from Fairtrade Certified Gold. As a jeweller who strives to be ethically focused in every aspect of my sourcing efforts, this is the baseline for me. I will only use Fairtrade Gold in my jewellery – simple.

In conclusion.

I am of the conviction that this is a very significant development for the Jewellery profession as well as the Fairtrade movement as a whole. For the first time Fairtrade has migrated away from agricultural products and is now operating in the exclusively luxury market of gold and fine jewellery. This will present a new set of challenges in the movement, but these challenges are the bedrock of what makes Fairtrade such a dynamic and entrepreneurial movement. Gold is the oldest market in the world and it demonstrates how Fairtrade has moved from being caricatured as a niche movement and is now swimming in the mainstream of global economics and all areas of commerce. Adam Smith would be proud of us.




8 thoughts on “Fairtrade Gold

  1. Pingback: ETHICAL JEWELRY CALL | alchimia school blog

  2. Delighted to read this, both as an individual who wants to buy Fairtrade Gold, and someone who dreams of making Fair Trade Oil happen.
    Please see Fair Trade Oil post at myfrangipani.wordpress.com
    I will add you to my recommended links, and appreciate if you would like to link back.

  3. Pingback: Fairtrade and Fairmined Silver Launches this Month! |

  4. I write a leave a response when I especially enjoy a article on a
    website or if I have something to contribute to the discussion.
    It’s triggered by the sincerness communicated in the article I read. And on this article Fairtrade Gold | Greg Valerio. I was moved enough to drop a thought😛 I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you usually do not mind. Could it be just me or does it look like a few of the comments appear as if they are coming from brain dead individuals?😛 And, if you are writing at other online social sites, I’d like to keep up with
    you. Would you list the complete urls of all your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin

  5. I am a third year BA Jewellery & Silversmithing Student at London Metropolitan University and I have just finished my dissertation on ‘The Problems With Gold…’ I found your blog-site very informative and helpful and I think you are doing commendable work and are an inspiration to all Jewellery Students (for me at least anyway) and my research for my dissertation has really opened my eyes on all the ethical issues that should be considered when sourcing materials and working with Gold or any material for that matter. For me it’s important to know where all materials come from. So just wanted to say – excellent Blog and good to see there’s people out there who are actually caring about the world we live in and ethical issues. Best wishes for future and keep up the good work and I hope all future Jewellers and Designers, consumers and people in general begin to open their eyes and think of the future in order to make things better for generations to come and the environment as a whole.

    • i am in 6 year BA and i find this website good because I had to do my h/work on goals and different kinds so thank you for this website

  6. Pingback: The Nyala Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring | Greg Valerio

  7. Pingback: Fairtrade Gold | Lila's Jewels

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