Fairtrade jewellery scheme launched for ‘ethical’ gold and silver

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The Fairtrade Foundation has launched a new initiative to encourage jewellers to use ethically-sourced gold and silver, in order to revolutionise the jewellery sector.

The Goldsmiths Registration Scheme will allow small jewellers, goldsmiths, silversmiths and artists to sign up for free and buy certified Fairtrade metals in a semi-finished form, such as sheet, wire or tube-casting grain.

Reena Agarwal, commercial account manager for Fairtrade gold, said, “The Fairtrade Foundation recognises that the vast majority of the jewellery trade rests in the hands of the small jewellers and this scheme sends a clear signal to the entire market that small is beautiful.

“Collectively small jewellers have the power to transform the national market through this scheme, so we are encouraging goldsmiths from across the country to register and help Fairtrade to transform the lives of marginalised artisanal and small-scale miners through the power of their creativity.”

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    According to the organisation, gold miners are among the most exploited workers in the world, with little, if any, rights. Many are forced to work in hazardous conditions, and are exposed to a dangerous environment and toxic chemicals.

    At present, the initiative does not allow jewellers to use the Fairtrade mark and has certain limitations on marketing materials and the amount of metals in the items.

    Agarwal added, “Naturally we want all small jewellers and goldsmiths to become full license holders, allowing them to stamp their jewellery pieces, but in the interim, the small jewellers and goldsmiths scheme is a great way to enjoy creating jewellery using Fairtrade certified metals and directly benefit the artisanal and small-scale miners and their impoverished communities.”

    Photo: Matt Paish via flickr

    Further reading:

    Rio Tinto criticised at AGM over sustainability and worker deaths

    Canada unveils mining transparency measures to ‘reduce corruption’

    Canadian pension fund divests from mining firm over human rights abuses

    Ethical consumer market now worth £54bn in the UK – up 12% in 2012

    The Guide to Sustainable Spending 2013