Now available to goldsmiths and small jewellers in the UK, five casting houses have added Fairtrade gold to their catalogues.
"A journey of a thousand miles," according to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu "begins with a single step." Having taken the first step towards the production of ethically mined gold in 2011, Fairtrade gold is ready to take its second and third steps in its ongoing initiative to help small-scale miners get a decent price for their gold and offer environmentally conscious consumers precious metals that can be traced to the source.
Fairtrade has recently opened its doors to goldsmiths, small jewellers and artists in the UK, offering ethically sourced gold and silver in exchange for their registration. In just three months, 100 small jewellers have applied to the Fairtrade Goldsmiths Registration Scheme, which in turn could generate $100,000 in premium to be given back to the small mining communities in South America. "Together, small jewellers have the opportunity and numbers to transform the national market and contribute towards improving the lives of marginalised artisanal and small-scale miners through the power of their creativity," says Reena Agarwal, Commercial Account Manager for Fairtrade gold.
Once they have registered, jewellers can purchase Fairtrade gold and precious metals from a choice of five dedicated "master licensees". As Britain's leading casting houses and purveyors of gold, Cred, Cooksons, Hockley Mint, Vipa Designs and Western Beamor have added Fairtrade gold to their catalogues. "This latest move allows Fairtrade gold to become a systemic part of the jewellery offering, making Fairtrade gold and precious metals available to everybody in the industry, whether large or small," comments Reena Agarwal.
Fairtrade gold was created in 2011 to help around 15 million poor and exploited small-scale miners, who produce around 10-15% of the global gold supply, get a fair price for their gold and encourage eco-friendly ways to extract the precious metal.
Fairtrade offers miners in South America and Africa access to the international market and a guaranteed minimum price for their gold set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association, plus a premium of $2,000 per kilo to invest in community or business development projects. In exchange, miners have to respect the ban on child and forced labour and manage the toxic chemicals used in gold recovery in a responsible way. Further incentives include a premium of 15% of top of sale price if they recover and process gold without harmful chemicals like mercury and cyanide.