Fairtrade and Fairmined gold arrives

Valentine’s Day 2011

Giving gold jewellery is about love, romance and beauty. But all too often, how gold is mined is not a pretty story. That’s why the world’s first Fairtrade and Fairmined gold from South America will go on sale in jewellery shops on Valentine’s Day.

This groundbreaking move will initially open up new opportunities for tens of thousands of impoverished small-scale and artisanal miners to sell under Fairtrade and Fairmined terms and through the Fairtrade premium invest in community projects. But Fairtrade gold has the potential to radically reform the entire gold jewellery sector improving the lives of millions of miners and their communities in some of the world’s poorest regions.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation will say: “This crucial launch is about celebrating beauty on the inside as well as on the outside. The destruction behind gold and precious metal mining is a reality that has to change. But we want to help inform the consumer as well as inspire a shift in shoppers’ buying habits. Jewellery is beautiful, but we have a responsibility to question just how beautiful it really is by asking where gold comes from and whether those who mine it or fairly paid and treated.”

Artisanal and small-scale miners, who produce just 15% of global gold supplies, yet account for 90% of labour in gold extraction, experience high levels of poverty. The launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold provides a lifeline for communities who find themselves at the mercy of volatile markets, when agriculture and other livelihoods are not viable.

Many miners face exploitation from middle men who pay below market prices and cheat them on weight and purity of the gold content. Mining community members lack basic sanitation, clean and safe drinking water, poor housing, little or no access to education and healthcare and are financially unstable. Fairtrade and Fairmined certification is an important development tool, and will complement other development interventions.

Speaking at the launch, Manuel Reinoso Rivas, who represents the Association of Artisanal Miner Producers of Central and Southern Peru, will say: “Fairtrade and Fairmined certification motivates miners, men and women alike, to press for better working conditions and above all improved health and safety. We need to learn how to use clean, non-polluting technologies that will preserve our environment and help us recover increased quantities of metals.

“We are determined to cut the number of accidents and reduce the impact of occupational disease and help our workplaces and our communities to provide our fellow miners, our families, our wives and our children with a better quality of life and set an example to our own children and to future generations.”

The standard was first piloted by ARM with nine mining organisations in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. More producer organisations from Latin America are expected to join the system in 2011 and beyond. ARM is also establishing a network of pilot projects in Africa, and later in Asia.

Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be initially 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, totalling 15 tonnes of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold annually. Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be co-labelled, bearing both the FAIRTRADE Mark and the FAIRMINED Mark, demonstrating the strength of the partnership between the two organisations.

– ENDS –

Eileen Maybin

Head of Media Relations

020 7440 7686/07770 957 451


Martine Julseth

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 7695/07825 827 791


Faith Mall

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 8597/07766 504 947


Neil Martin

Assistant Press Officer

020 7440 7620


Notes to Editors

  1. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label is now recognised by 72% of UK consumers and appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than 7.5 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 58 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
  2. The Fairmined Mark ensures that the gold has been extracted and processed in a fair way and responsible manner. This means that the miners receive a fair price, eliminate child labour, good health and safety practises, care for the environment and participate in the social development of their communities. ARM is an international community-based multi-sector governed initiative created to enhance equity and wellbeing in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. ARM is committed to social justice and environmental responsibility as the values driving the transformation of ASM.
  3. The partnership between the Fairtrade Foundation and ARM will create differentiated market access for gold products to support social, environmental and economic development outcomes for artisanal and small scale miners through:
  • A credible programme of support and development for artisanal and small scale miners.
  • A high profile and trusted product label to drive market access on terms that support development.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) have the experience and networks to provide the necessary support, and Fairtrade labelling to create differentiated market access on terms that support development.

The work of the partners will be communicated publically via product co-labelling: FAIRTRADE Mark as the senior mark, with ARM’s Fairmined Mark as a junior supporting mark. The rationale is to present to the consumer the strength of the partnership without diluting the immediate impact of FAIRTRADE Mark brand recognition.