When browsing our website for jewels, you might have noticed that Fairtrade Gold is a little more expensive than some other metal options. As one of the world’s first ever Fairtrade Gold licensees, we’re here today to explain why – and why this price tag, in itself, makes it worth its weight in gold.
90% of the world's gold miners are employed by artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations; organisations centred on extracting and processing gold on a small scale, using rudimentary techniques. There are approximately 20 million artisanal gold-miners worldwide. Taking into account these miners, their families and their communities, there are roughly 150 million people on Earth who rely on ASM gold for an income.
Often, small-scale mines are hazardous places. When they aren’t responsibly managed, miners can find themselves working in pits that are structurally insecure, coming into regular contact with harmful chemicals like mercury, and operating without adequate protective gear. It’s estimated that one million of those working in these treacherous conditions are children in forced child labour. All too often, ASM miners are exploited by middlemen and, in spite of their back-breaking work, earn barely enough to get by.
This is where certification systems like Fairtrade Gold play a crucial role. In certifying gold from mines that operate responsibly, they afford jewellers and consumers alike to directly support improved working conditions and financial security for the miners involved in its production; incentivising other, small-scale mines to follow suit in the process.
Fairtrade Gold costs around 20% more to buy than its ‘industry standard’ (non-traceable) counterparts.
Thanks to the Fairtrade Minimum Price, Fairtrade Gold is purchased from artisanal and small-scale (ASM) miners for 95% - 98% of its daily spot price; a serious contrast to the 70% average paid to non-certified ASM miners.
What’s more, Fairtrade miners are allocated an additional Fairtrade Premium for every kilogram of gold they sell. Within their cooperatives, they decide together how to invest this Premium in their families and communities; be it environmental protection efforts, education, childcare or healthcare.
Our Fairtrade Gold currently originates from the Sotrami Mine, nestled in the arid Peruvian mountains south of Lima and Cusco. This community has worked hard, year after year, to achieve its Fairtrade certification. The Fairtrade premium they now receive in return for their beautiful gold is spent mostly on ensuring reliable water and electricity for the mountainside community, but has also been used to invest in sounder health and safety practises within the mine itself. In paying a little extra for the privilege of using Fairtrade Gold, we can sell you jewellery that tells these stories of human life.