An international group of jewellery, mining and environmental stakeholders, including the UK’s Greg Valerio, met at the end of last month and agreed on the need to establish the certification of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in the US market.
Aiming for 2012, the group will “undertake a critical examination of standards and work to ensure the best outcome for communities and the environment through the mineral supply chain.” They identified a need for a more “transparent market” of traceable ethical metals, as well as coloured gems, diamonds, other precious metals.
The Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification is the result of work by Fairtrade International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), who joined together to “enable artisanal and small-scale miners to improve their livelihoods through a set of standards for responsible mining.” These standards, which include democratic organisation, safe working practices, proper management of toxic chemicals, and respect for the environment and women’s rights, would need to be observed in order for the miners to become certified.
Certified miners receive a guaranteed Fairtrade and Fairmined minimum price and premium, which is reinvested into community projects and improving miners’ operations. Mining organisations are to be audited by FLO-CERT, an independent certification body, to ensure compliance.
Fairtrade certified gold is already available in the UK and Canada.