Fairtrade, Fairmined, & Recycled gold

You are conscious about the damaging effect gold mining has on the environment and the miners. You want to make the correct decision, but find that your head is spinning with all the options. Let us try to clarify what they all mean, and the actual differences.


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Up until 2013 Alliance for Responsible Mining and Fairtrade International (FLO) worked together to develop the Fairtrade & Fairmined Mark which ensures that gold has been mined, processed and traded in a fair and responsible manner. 

  • Strengthened miners’ organisations. The miners form groups to give themselves better bargaining power with traders, to get a fairer return for their produce, and gain greater control over the jewellery supply chain. They are required to participate in the social development of their communities.
  • Child labour. Mining is considered to involve the worst forms of child labour as defined by ILO Convention 182. Any under 18s who participate in mining alongside family members must not do anything which places them in danger or which impacts on their schooling, social or physical development. Fairtrade and Fairmine certified mining organisations are required and supported to eliminate all forms of child labour within their development plans for the future and to provide younger workers with access to training and employment.
  • Improved working conditions. Fairtrade and Fairmined certification requires mandatory use of protective gear and health and safety training for all miners.
  • Freedom of association and collective bargaining. Certified miners’ organisations must recognise the right of all workers to establish and join trade unions and collectively negotiate their working conditions.
  • Responsible use of chemicals. Certified miners must use safe and responsible practices for management of toxic chemicals in gold recovery, such as mercury and cyanide. Chemicals have to be reduced to a minimum, and where possible eliminated over an agreed time period.

If you'd like to find out more, there's plenty of information out there in Fairmined standard and Fairtrade standard.


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Ecological Gold is responsibly sourced. It is responsibly mined with consideration to humanitarian, ecological and environmental factors. Fairmined Ecological Gold and Fairtrade Ecological Gold work to reduce the toxic chemicals used by Small Scale Artisanal Miners (ASM). Ecological Gold does not use any toxic chemicals in processing the gold. 

The standard also work to help rehabilitation of native ecosystems. Additional requirements for of minimization of ecological disruption

Please visit the website for Ecological Gold for further information.


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Offered as a sustainable option Ecogold (recycled gold) is essentially previously refined gold. Simply put, this means reusing gold rather than mining new gold and helps reduce environmental impact. Recycled gold from refineries is often collated from different sources including existing jewellery, industrial-use metals, electronics components, scrap and waste metal. This means that while it is a sustainable option, it can be difficult to reliably trace if its originals are fully ethical.


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