Argos will be the
first UK high street retailer online to launch Fairtrade gold rings in stores
The new lines of wedding bands will be available in four different styles and will go on sale from 16 July 2016, retailing from £99.99. There will also be a number of additional styles available online only at argos.co.uk which can be delivered within 5 working days to a customer’s home.
Each Fairtrade Wedding Ring will be imprinted with the unique Fairtrade Gold Stamp so that couples know that the miners were paid a fair price for the gold plus an extra amount of money in the form of the Fairtrade Premium, to invest in building their future.
The launch comes at the height of 2016 wedding season, giving British couples choosing their wedding bands an opportunity to pick new styles with a beautiful story of provenance and integrity.
The Fairtrade gold in the rings comes from SOTRAMI gold mine, located in the Atacama desert in Peru, 70 miles from the nearest town. The artisanal smallscale mining community consists of 500 families and had little access to amenities such as shops and health care before selling on Fairtrade terms. Since becoming certified, the miners have helped improve the lives of the town’s inhabitants by investing the Fairtrade Premium in a primary school and dentistry and a not-for-profit grocery store in the community so people can buy food at affordable prices. In the future they plan to help improve health care, waste management, electricity and water supplies for the town’s inhabitants.
The introduction of the new Fairtrade styles is part of Argos’ ongoing commitment to good business practice including sourcing the best products while minimising social and environmental impact, securing long-term relationships and choosing products from traceable and well-managed supply chains which respect the environment and human rights.
Stephanie Wilkes, Argos Fine Jewellery Buyer said: “We are very proud to be adding a number of new ring styles made from Fairtrade gold to our existing collections. We hope they add extra sparkle to our couples’ big day and contribute towards building stronger mining communities in Peru, thanks to Fairtrade certification.”
Euan Venters, Fairtrade Foundation Commercial Director said: “Congratulations to Argos for setting such an important precedent in the jewellery industry. As one of the biggest high street retailers of jewellery, this move shows that Fairtrade gold really can be mainstream. By selling affordable, responsibly sourced wedding bands to customers nationwide, Argos is offering more choice plus the assurance that the gold is ‘clean,’ free from child labour, pollution and exploitation. We hope other companies will follow Argos’ lead.”
Artisanal smallscale mining is driven by poverty and draws people who have no other option. When unregulated, the conditions faced by miners can be dangerous and polluting. Miners are often exploited by middle men and don’t receive a fair price for their gold. It is estimated that tens of thousands of children are empowered in the sector. Mercury and cyanide are used to extract gold from hard rock, so unskilled handling of these toxic chemicals poses severe risks to miners’ health, their communities and the natural environment. For more information, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.
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