14 February 2012
A year on from the launch of the world's first independent ethical certification system for gold, we thought you’d be interested to hear what the impact has been, both locally and internationally.
Since Valentine’s Day 2011 the number of jewellers working with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has doubled. There are now four certified South American mines, with a further two imminent and, thanks to a grant of over £800,000 from Comic Relief, the Fairtrade Foundation will be developing gold supplies from artisinal miners in Africa.
Excitingly, in the last few days, the first legal export of gold from a Kenyan Gold Mining Co-Operative arrived in the UK; a wonderful start and significant step for artisinal miners on that continent.
The success story of this metal has reached far and wide. We saw Livia Firth, wife of actor, Colin, wear Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to the Oscars as part of her Green Carpet Challenge for Vogue.com and it’s even been applied to a weather vane on Chichester Cathedral!
Also, Greg Valerio, co-founder of ARM (Association for Responsible Mining), whose partnership with the Fairtrade Labelling Organistaion led to Fairtrade and Fairmined gold’s inception, won the Observer Ethical Awards Global Campaigner 2011.
However, what’s more inspirational is how immediate the positive impact has been on the mining communities. People living in the isolated Peruvian community of Santa Filomena have already reaped the benefits. Sotrami, the first certified mining organisation fromPeru, have invested their Fairtrade premium in healthcare, built an extension to the primary school and bought computers for the senior school. They also opened a not-for-profit convenience store, allowing the 500-strong community to buy food at reasonable prices.
Sales of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold bullion reached an estimated £700,000 last year, and estimated retail sales of all Fairtrade products increased by 11% from the year before. It appears there’s a better understanding of the significance of buying Fairtrade and the opportunities it provides to artisinal miners, farmers, and producers. Economic independence, control over their environment and the know how to protect and use their natural resources in a sustainable way is priceless.
Jon with Columbian miner, Luis Americo Mosquera, from the Oro Verde mining co-operative, at the Fairtrade & Fairmined gold launch party, London Jewellery Week 2011.