Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has been launched this month in the UK thanks to a partnership between Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM).
This Fairtrade and Fairmined gold trademark represents the first ever third party independent certification for gold and is set to help artisanal and small scale miners earn a better price for their gold.
At the heart of the jewellery industry’s move towards a more ethical approach is Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design, the UK’s leading bespoke jewellery design company with studios in both Cambridge and Hertfordshire.
Director Harriet Kelsall has been working closely with the Fairtrade Foundation for the 18 months leading up to this launch.
Awarded a first class BSc (hons) in Industrial Design from Brunel University, she specialised in environmental design and received the coveted University prize for her work. Committed for 12 years to encouraging the UK jewellery industry to embrace a more ethical and environmental way of working, Harriet’s company was also the first small business to join the Responsible Jewellery Council.
“We are proud to be leading the way with this high profile and exciting launch,” said Harriet. “Responsibly sourced gold has been something we have offered our customers for some time, but only now is it properly rubber-stamped, with a process is in place to make sure the paper-trail goes back to the artisanal miners for every piece of jewellery created.
“Globally, there are over 100 million people who depend directly or indirectly on artisanal and small-scale mining and who are trapped in unfair supply chains, struggling to get a fair price for the gold they mine.
“With the launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold we can slowly start to change this and improve economic, social and environmental conditions for miners. As one of only 22 companies in the UK to be involved at this early stage, we are committed to educating people about the difference they can make by choosing Fairtrade over ‘standard’
“Our message is simple. For the price of a meal out, you can have an Fairtrade ring instead of one made with standard gold and feel happy in the knowledge that the people who mined the very same gold that is on your finger were paid fairly. When we are talking about the important life-moments such as a ring as a symbol o f engagement or to mark the birth of a child, this seems especially worthwhile somehow.”
With this UK launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold, gold mined in the Choco region of Columbia by miners who operate in accordance with Fairtrade and Fairmined standards will be paid a fair price for their gold.
The suppliers will be required to abide by national environmental legislation, preserve the environmental balance in the forests, minimise water use and the use of toxic chemicals and help preserve ecosystems, particularly those that form the environment of indigenous people.
Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold will initially be launched in the UK and then rolled out to other countries with a long term vision of capturing 5% of the gold jewellery market over a 15-year period. This will equate to 14 tones of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold annually.
Victoria Waugh, Business Development Manager from the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “The UK is streets ahead of other countries when it comes to understanding Fairtrade as a brand, which is why we have chosen to launch Fairtrade gold in the UK first.”
Harriet Kelsall added: “Twelve years ago, when I asked my gemstone and gold dealers about their ethics, they would laugh and say ‘You’re in the wrong industry for all that hippy stuff love!’ Like a few other passionate and determined people and organisations, we refused to accept this and have worked hard to bring about change.
“It’s important to remember that just supporting Fairtrade is not enough though. If all artisanal miners became part of the Fairtrade and Fairmined process, this would only satisfy about 20% of the world’s demand for gold. This means it is also important for large scale mining companies to clean up their act – so we can cleanly and fairly satisfy the world’s demand for gold. At least now though we are taking steps in the right direction and attitudes are finally changing.”
For more information contact Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design on 01462 790565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or log on to www.hkjewellery.co.uk
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Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design is the UK’s leading bespoke jewellery design company specialising in engagement rings, wedding rings, commitment rings and eternity rings as well as jewellery for other memorable occasions.