A twenty-something explores the environmental impact her day-to-day life has and whether she can green her life without losing out.
Friday, 9 March 2012
The Gold Standard
You've bought yourself a pair of lovely, expensive gold earrings and you feel great. But do you know where that gold came from, or how the workers who dug it from the ground were paid or treated?
The prospect of unethical mining takes the shine off gold products. As with any product it's hard to be sure that the original producers were paid a fair price, especially if they are small scale and have to compete with bigger companies-often by reducing prices to an unsustainable level. But thankfully there is now a solution, Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold.
Since Valentine's Day last year Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has been on sale and is the world's first independent ethical certification system for gold. Like the other Fairtrade products I've been learning about over the last weeks this certificationguarantees miners a fair price (at least 95% of the London Bullion Market Association's fixing at the FOB export point) and get a premium to put back into their community. For Ecological Gold, that which is extracted without chemicals, there is a higher premium, supporting mining methods that reduce the damage done to the environment. The Fairtrade and Fairmined certification aims to reduce dependence on chemicals in general too.
There are a few other benefits too. Certified mines must have developed democratic and accountable organisations and formalised all operations, they must be using safe working practices including managing toxic chemicals and must respect the environment and workers (including women).
Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is mined from small-scale mines. It is particularly important to help these miners improve standards because there are over 6 times as many accidents in small scale mines as the big industrial ones.
It's another step away from bananas and towards a fair world. If you want some more information of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold just look here on the Fairtrade website-it's also the place to find where you can buy some of this lovely gold. And finally, how can you tell if your gold is Fairtrade? Simple, look carefully and you'll find the Fairtrade and Fairmined stamp on the inside of every piece.