Posted on February 25 2017
Fairtrade Fortnight 2017: Monday 27 February - Sunday 12 March
With Fairtrade Fortnight coming up we thought it was perfect timing to write a short piece on why we support the Fairtrade Foundation and how fair trade mining can and should be supported.
But first, what is Fairtrade, and what is Fairtrade Fortnight?
Well…..The Fairtrade Foundation was set up in 1992 and, put simply, endeavours to provide farming and worker communities with fairer prices for their goods, decent working conditions and fairer terms of trade. The Foundation allows consumers to have a choice at the point of purchase that a product with the Fairtrade logo will guarantee that the producer of the item will receive a required minimum fee for their goods. The Fairtrade stamp also means the producer adheres to certain guidelines while producing their goods. These include workers rights and standards set to reduce their impact on their local environment. The environmental guidelines are very important, especially when mining for gold.
What is Fairtrade Fortnight?
Well, Fairtrade Fortnight is a promotional campaign set up in 1997 to raise awareness of the Fairtrade Foundation and the general promotion of ethical trading. It is a time to support the foundation with the products you choose to buy and spread the word by telling friends, family and suppliers of the good the foundation brings.
Fairtrade tweeted an interesting thought this week..
‘Did you know that 15,000 cups of tea are drunk every second! Imagine the difference we could make if we all #ChooseFairtrade’
This amazing fact applies to a million products around the world. Imagine the difference it would make if all these producers were getting a fairer price for their goods.
The exploitation of farmers and workers is rife throughout the world. The saying ‘there is no such thing as cheap food’ is all too often very true. A low price tag on the shelf of a supermarket, often means beating down a producer’s prices to an unethical level.
For the past 2 years Catherine Zoraida jewellery has been a certified supplier of Fairtrade Gold and Silver. It is something we are very proud of and something we will continue to support in the future. One day we would like to see the Fairtrade standards applied to all gold mining and the best way for us to help this to happen is to offer and promote Fairtrade as an option where ever we can.
Fairtrade Gold is the worlds first independent ethical certification system for gold. What this means is that the miners involved in producing the metal will have been offered a fair and guaranteed minimum price for their metal. The miners will have also agreed to mine the gold under the standards set by the foundation.
From the Fairtrade website….
The Fairtrade Mark ensures that gold has been extracted and processed in a fair and responsible manner. This means:
• Miners’ organizations are strengthened
Miners form groups to give themselves better bargaining power with
traders, to get a fairer return for their gold, and gain greater control over the
jewellery supply chain. They are required to participate in the social
development of their communities.
• Child labour
Miners’ organisations must eliminate child labour from their organisation. No one under 15 years old must be contracted to work in the mining organisation. Those under 18 must not work in hazardous or dangerous conditions.
• Working conditions are improved
Fairtrade certification requires mandatory use of protective gear and health and safety training for all miners.
• Freedom of association and collective bargaining is respected
Miners’ organisations recognise the right of all workers to establish and join trade unions and collectively negotiate their working conditions.
• Responsible use of chemicals is mandatory
Miners must use safe and responsible practices for management of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide, in gold recovery. Chemicals have to be reduced to a minimum and where possible eliminated over an agreed time period.
According to the Foundation 90% of the labour force involved in gold mining is made up of artisanal and small scale miners. Together they produce between 200 – 300 tonnes of gold a year. 70% of this is used to make jewellery.
The conditions gold miners work under are often hazardous and the tecniques used can often be polluting. Offering a set price for their gold incentivizes the miners to follow the Fairtrade route, allowing them to receive the money they need to support their business and families while also protecting their environment. It is a win win situation.
Overall, as a producer of gold jewellery there is very little reason not to love what the Fairtrade Foundation have done. Although the cost of Fairtrade Gold is higher it is worth it as we know the good it is doing to the mining communities.
So as of Monday 27th February keep Faritrade Fortnight in mind and if you see the logo when you are doing your shopping, please support it if you can.
Catherine currently has two collections online in Fairtrade gold, The Loveheart Collection and Shooting Star Collection and we can also make any piece on our website to order in Fairtrade Gold should you want it create that extra special piece. Check out the collections here.