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Fairtrade Gold ‘I Do’ campaign launches on the steps of St Paul’s

By Gonzaga Mungai   |   January 15th, 2015   |  

Fairtrade bridal campaign ‘I DO’ launches on iconic steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

The Fairtrade Foundation’s new national ‘I DO’ campaign launched on 14 January to encourage couples in the UK to buy Fairtrade gold rings ahead of Valentine’s Day.  An estimated $1 million (£650,000) in Fairtrade Premium could be generated through 50,000 couples choosing Fairtrade gold wedding rings to invest in improving education, healthcare and livelihoods for some of the poorest mining communities across the world.

There are 15 million artisanal and small-scale gold miners globally producing 10-15 % of the world’s gold supplies. Despite the alluring promise of a better livelihood this is actually one of the world’s most dangerous industries with miners earning as little as $1 per day. It is rife with exploitation and daily contact with toxic chemicals used to process gold such as mercury, cyanide and nitric acid means workers risk disease, serious injury, premature births and even death.

Fairtrade is publishing an Industry Briefing to explain the complexities behind the gold mining industry and a new Standard for Gold & Precious Metals to help protect miners and their families against poverty and exploitation, revising the standard first introduced in 2011. The new standard will encourage best practice and be in line with changes in international regulation and legislation around the production and trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’, of which gold is considered one. Under the new standard miners are now required to:

  • Uphold human rights policy preventing war crimes, bribery, money laundering and child labour
  • Clearly represent where the minerals were mined
  • Try to minimise the risks of conflict minerals through robust risk assessments and collaboration across supply chains
  • Report to buyers and trading partners regarding the risks of conflict minerals

Since becoming certified in 2010, Fairtrade mining organizations in Peru have invested in healthcare, education and improved equipment; and later in 2015 the first mining groups in *East Africa will benefit from similar positive social and economic impacts when they become Fairtrade certified.

Amy Ross, Fairtrade Gold Project Manager, says: “Gold is such a beautiful product associated with romance, shine and history. By creating traceability and provenance through Fairtrade, that gold becomes extra special. We all share responsibility to the planet and to each other so our hope for the future is that, as well as asking what carat their ring is, people start to ask where it came from and who mined it.

“Unfortunately not enough people know about Fairtrade gold, which is why we are running the campaign. By choosing Fairtrade gold you can help create a better life for miners and their communities. Fairtrade gold supports miners to eliminate child labour, work their way out of the vicious circle of exploitation and poverty and reduce the harmful impacts of mercury. Fairtrade hopes to now engage with gold in the same way it has with tea, coffee and bananas.”

A recent survey by the Fairtrade Foundation found that only 16% of people said they are familiar with Fairtrade gold as opposed to 64% who are familiar with Fairtrade tea or coffee, yet over half, 56% of people think that buying Fairtrade products is the responsible thing to do. A further 31% thought that Fairtrade gold is more expensive than normal gold when in actual fact the cost difference can be as little as £15 per ring.

More than 80 jewellers worldwide are already licensed to use the Fairtrade gold stamp on their pieces along with a further 140 goldsmiths who are registered to sell Fairtrade gold, so there is a wide range of jewellers and designers to choose from.

A two-week public exhibition of some of the latest Fairtrade bridal jewellery from 13 different UK jewellers will be on display at Cox & Power in London.

A dedicated website has been created for the campaign. It will offer one lucky couple the opportunity to win a set of wedding bands made from Fairtrade gold. Couples will be asked to upload romantic stories to the hub and the winners will be selected by the public who will vote on the most romantic story submitted. In addition, the website will contain inspirational wedding stories, tips on how to choose the perfect ring and suggestions about where to buy.

The campaign, which launches first in the UK will be replicated in other Fairtrade markets globally starting with Switzerland, aims to sell 100,000 wedding rings to 50,000 couples. Around 250,000 marriages take place annually in the UK.

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