New marks unveiled for Fairtrade gold and precious metals

Man panning for gold

- Brand new FAIRTRADE Marks for gold and precious metals simplify labelling

-They signify strengthened standards on health and environmental protection for miners

-Round-table discussions with miners will coincide with international meeting on mercury misuse

Fairtrade International has unveiled its new standard and pricing for gold, silver and platinum and new ways of working with the jewellery industry at a landmark round table in London on 9 - 10 October 2013.

Participants include seven visiting miners from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia representing four Fairtrade mining co-operatives and representatives from a Fairtrade pilot projects in East Africa. They will meet with key industry stakeholders to agree how to pioneer and grow the Fairtrade gold programme to bring greater benefits to impoverished and marginalised small-scale miners.

Timely discussions will cover how to introduce a programme to eradicate mercury within the Fairtrade gold programme and protect human health and the environment from poisonous mercury vapours. This comes two days before the Minamata Convention on Mercury will be adopted and opened for signature at a diplomatic conference in Japan from 10 - 11 October 2013.

The meeting in London will also introduce Fairtrade’s ecological support programme and lay out early plans for the development of new centres of excellence for the training for small-scale miners in how to become a responsible Fairtrade gold mining organisation.

Ugandan gold miner Simon said: ‘For years we were mining haphazardly, digging shafts without proper support. We had pits that kept collapsing all the time, as the walls collapse in the rain. We hope through Fairtrade we will learn how to do things differently.’

For their dangerous work finding this precious metal, his mining group get less than $1 a day: ‘It’s not enough to live on, let alone make the vitally needed investments in safer equipment and practices.’

Small-scale gold mining is one of the world’s most disadvantaged sectors and provides an economic lifeline to over 15 million miners and seasonal income for one hundred million workers. They are open to exploitation at the bottom of complex supply chains and their access to international markets is limited, meaning they rarely receive a fair price for their gold and struggle to survive. 

Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers, businesses and consumers. This gives small-scale miners the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future.

Fairtrade gold programme co-ordinator Greg Valerio adds: ‘For me Fairtrade is the best gold story in the world and all players in the jewellery industry need to get behind it. Too often we are unaware of our power to change people’s lives, of our connection with people across the world as we treat ourselves to a new piece of sparkling jewellery here in the UK. Our round table is a great opportunity for the industry to speak to the Fairtrade miners and support this revolution in responsibly mined gold. ’

 ‘As a result of the changes we are already seeing more gold being bought on Fairtrade terms, which means more alloyed and fabricated gold will become widely available and cost effective for Fairtrade licensees to buy, resulting in more products on sale to consumers. The market has been asking for a simplified labelling scheme to maximise potential. We have listened to our partners and believe the new Fairtrade precious metals marks will help build greater market share and consumer awareness.’

The new Fairtrade Premium

The Fairtrade Premium on fine gold has changed to a set figure of US$2000 per kilogram of fine gold bought from the mines.  The Fairtrade minimum price for gold remains at 95% of the LBMA price. The Fairtrade minimum price and premium for silver and platinum has not been amended as part of this review.

The new Fairtrade Standard for gold and precious metals - available from end of October at http://www.fairtrade.net/standards.html

The new FAIRTRADE Mark for gold

The new design can be applied to Fairtrade gold, platinum and silver, and has an eye-catching green accented tab with the name of the precious metal set in black. The Marks sit well in the luxury sector and will encourage jeweller participation and highlight Fairtrade’s sustainable precious metals credentials.

The Marks can also be applied to Fairtrade certified gold, platinum and silver that need to adhere to eco standards. The Eco Marks can be used for precious metal that has been extracted without the use of chemicals, with strict ecological restoration requirements.

For more information, interviews and images, please contact Martine Parry, Media and PR Manager in the Fairtrade Foundation press office on 020 7440 7695 or at martine.parry@fairtrade.org.uk