Fairtrade Gold vs. Recycled Gold

Fairtrade Gold Vs. Recycled Gold
Typically, in non-fairtrade gold mines, gold and mercury are mixed by hand as shown here.
At a Glance
  • The use of recycled metals has symbolic meaning and raises the awareness of sourcing issues among consumers, and has no impact on mining worldwide.
  • Fairtrade metal allows small-scale miners to be paid fairly for their work. It also allows you to use economic power to benefit the most responsible small-scale mining operations in the world.

Fairtrade Gold Vs. Recycled Gold: When considering the ethics of Fairtrade Gold Vs. Recycled Gold fair trade gold is the choice.

Jewelry made from recycled metals has no impact on mining around the world. The great demand for precious metal as a currency hedge, or for investment purposes exists independently of jewelry production. No many how many pieces of jewelry are made with recycled metals, large-scale mining companies will continue to wreak havoc on communities and the environment around the world. Small-scale miners will continue to live in poverty and pollute their homes and surrounding eco-systems.

Recycled Metal Option: The Benefits
When recycled metals were introduced several years ago, it was the best option for jewelers wanting to take a positive stance against the negative impacts of mining. It raised awareness of sourcing issues among consumers. The metal is also traceable and transparent to its source: the refinery. Even today, the using of recycled silver remains the only option given the highly limited availability of fairtrade silver. Plus, certain jewelry components necessary for production are simply not yet available in fairtrade gold.
Recycled Metal Option: The False Thinking
However, in the marketing of recycled metals, some jewelers have falsely implied that the purchase of recycled metals decreases the atrocities associated with precious metal mining. A narrative has been created that convinces people into feeling that recycled metals is similar to using post-consumer waste products. But gold and silver, unlike post-consumer waste, have always been recycled by jewelers. In fact, recycled metals are available for any jeweler. Therefore, in context to a real social and environmental impact, using recycled metal has only symbolic significance.

To imply that the purchase of jewelry made with recycled precious metals diminishes the atrocities and tragedies associated with large or small-scale metal mining is false. Fairtrade certified gold makes a real difference.

Our Stand as Earth Stewards
We are firmly against all large-scale multi-national precious metal mining and have even initiated and co-lead a campaign against a large gold mine outside our home of Santa Fe. Too often, gold mining exploits local communities, destroys ecosystems and displaces indigenous people. While large-scale mining is the politics of greed, small-scale mining is the politics of bread. It provides about fifteen percent of the world's gold supply, while employing ninety percent of the world's gold miners.
Unfortunately, at this moment many of the fifteen million small-scale miners are mixing mercury and gold dust with their hands, and then cooking the gold mercury amalgam with their frying pans in their homes, poisoning themselves. Impoverished men, women and children throughout the world mine gold under terrible conditions because it offers a way to survive when agriculture or other activities are not possible. They have no legal rights and run informal operations in order to survive. Their activities have a terrible effect on the environment and surrounding communities.
Fairtrade Gold: The Responsible Choice
Fairtrade gold brings responsible mining standards to small-scale mining. Although the amount of gold coming out of the ground are so small that it does not even register on the international supply chain, this small initiative offers miners and jewelry consumers a new hope. For the miners, the opportunities is to be paid fairly and invest in healthcare, schools and better working conditions. The consumer has a chance to make a real difference simply by choosing fairtrade gold.

You can make a difference. If the US consumer market were to move toward fairtrade gold as it has toward fairtrade coffee, hundreds of thousands of small-scale miners would be able to feed and clothe their families, pay for the education of their children and have access to healthcare.
In fairtrade gold mines, safe methods are employed to prevent contact with mercury.

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