So, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. And although you still might be munching on chocolates (or, if you’re thrifty like me you’re going out to buy all the V-Day chocolate at 75% off…) the holiday is largely over.
Except this year, Valentine’s Day had a longer impact that just February 14th. In the UK, 20 jewelers signed a petition to only sell the world’s first fair trade gold. Yep, you read that right. The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) has finally started certifying gold.
This new fair trade gold is mined by small-scale artisanal mines in a way that tries to lower the dependence on harmful chemicals, which wreak havoc on the local environment.
The New Fair Trade Gold Standards
According to FairTrade.org, these will be the new standards for fair trade gold:
Through an extensive consultation process the two organisations have developed a set of standards for responsible mining, which the miners have to fulfill in order to get certified. Achieving the certification means that the miners:
- Receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price: This is set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA’s), fixing at the FOB export point
- Receive a Fairtrade premium payment, which is democratically reinvested in community projects and improving miners’ operations. This is calculated as 10% of the applicable LBMA fixing
- For Ecological Gold (gold extracted without the use of chemicals) this is calculated as 15% of the applicable LBMA fixing
- Develop long term business relations with their commercial partners
Fulfilling the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard means that certified miners:
- Have developed democratic and accountable organisations and formalised all their operations
- Are using safe working practices including the management of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide, used in the gold recovery process
- Are respectful with their environment
- Recognize the rights of women miners
I’m so excited about this! Fair trade gold has been a long time coming, and I’m thrilled that progress kept moving and this certification has finally happened.
This new fair trade gold will cost 10% more than regular gold, but I strongly feel that it’s worth the extra money. And, I’m sure many other people will feel the same way, especially since the gold miners will finally be earning a living wage, and the environment will be considered more than just a passing thought.
The Fair Trade Federations hopes to roll this out to more countries in the months or years to come. As of now, only jewelers in the UK can sign up to be part of this movement. But it will be coming our way soon!
If you want to know where you can buy fair trade gold right now, here’s a list of jewelers who are signed up to sell it.
Filed under: Fair Trade Basics on February 18th, 2011