Ecological Gold: Fairtrade International announces first companies to offer jewellery made with Fairtrade Fairmined Gold

Toronto Goldsmith is the first Registered Operator for Fairtrade Fairmined Gold in North America

TORONTO, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - Toronto's Fair Trade Jewellery Company (FTJCo) has been named North America's first registered Operator for Fairtrade Fairmined Gold. The company sources metals from the Condoto community mines in Colombia, among the first certified producers of certified Fairtrade Fairmined precious metals worldwide. The certification standard ensures FTJCo's ecological metals (platinum and gold) are traceable and are independently audited to comply with the Fairtrade Fairmined standards from the mine forward, and that FTJCo's products can now be labeled as Certified Fairtrade Fairmined.

According to Fairtrade International (FLO), globally more than 100 million people are impacted directly or indirectly by artisanal and small-scale mining. Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological Gold is mined in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner - creating a path of independence and resilience for mining communities such as the Condoto Community (partners in the Oro Verde 'Green Gold' initiative) of Colombia, and a verifiable source of ecological gold for artisan jeweler and artist communities worldwide.

The Condoto miners do not use toxic chemicals such as cyanide or mercury, key causes of many challenges associated with industrial mining and prospecting activities. Oro Verde's environmentally friendly approach and the Fairtrade Fairmined certification place the responsibility for land stewardship in the hands of these miners, balancing it with tangible incentives and rewards for minimum-impact practices. It is a mutually beneficial relationship between community members who are prospecting and extracting the metals and the sellers and buyers of the raw metal. And at the end of the supply chain, jewellers and their clients will now enjoy stamps of assurance - that these final products carry the Marks of certified Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological Gold and associated precious metals.

Says Ryan Taylor, Designer Goldsmith and Founder, FTJCo, "We are thrilled about our Fairtrade Fairmined certification. As FLO's first registered Fairtrade Fairmined jeweller in North America, every Fairtrade Fairmined Certified Product we craft can be verified. We as goldsmiths are now able to source Ecological Gold that is mined under positive social, labour and environmental conditions."

"It's extremely important to the Chocó communities and the rest of the jewellery-buying world that we return to a tradition of handcrafted, artisan goods that are ecologically beneficial for each stop on the supply chain. This has been a six year journey to explore where and how our metals originated, and through our relationship with the Oro Verde program, now we can be certain that our mined metals have not caused harm, and will in fact contribute to the economic and environmental vitality of this pioneering community," explains Taylor.

"I think this project, which works towards the future, can be one of the bases for the continuous development of the Chocó communities," echoes Américo Mosquera, one of the Oro Verde miners.

"We have been eager supporters of FTJCo's efforts to secure recognition for artisanal mining practices and are proud and excited that they and the mining community they have partnered with are among the first recipients of the Fairtrade Fairmined certification. The consequences of mineral exploitation and unethical mining are self-evident across the world. The importance of addressing these issues and trading fairly and responsibly cannot be underestimated. We at War Child applaud the commitment of FTJCo in it's efforts to affect meaningful change," adds James Topham, Director of Communications for War Child.

About Fairtrade International (FLO)
Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological standards for gold and platinum have been developed through a partnership between Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and Fairtrade International (FLO). Together, these organizations have developed the first ever third party independent certification for gold to bring about social, environmental and economic development in artisanal and small-scale mining communities.

About Fair Trade Jewelry Company (FTJCo)
Beautiful art takes commitment, a good eye and a love of the process and the result. Our jewelry pieces are each hand-crafted by master artisans, using environmentally friendly and socially responsible metals and gems. Our Ecological Gold is traceable and all of our jewelry made from this metal includes a tracking number that traces it to the community where it was mined. We are immensely proud that we have a hand in helping create social change for these mining communities, and share in their successes. To learn more and watch our documentary The Last Gold Rush, visit ftjco.com/fairtrade.

About the Oro Verde Program in Colombia
The Condoto Community Council, through its Oro Verde (Green Gold) initiative was just issued their Fairtrade and Fairmined Certificate for Ecological Gold. A Fairtrade Certified Producer, the Condoto community of mining families extract the gold using ancestral artisanal mining techniques that ensure a sustainable use of the natural resources of their home - the Chocó Bioregion, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. No toxic chemicals are used in the mining and strict ecological restoration practices are observed.

The certification indicates improved working conditions for producers, encourages public policies that promote a responsible mining sector, improves environmental management (including mitigation of the use of mercury and ecological restoration), gender equality, elimination of child labour in mining, fairer market access, and benefits local communities in mineral rich ecosystems through improved governance.

About Fairtrade International's Fairtrade Fairmined Certification
The Fairtrade and Fairmined standard means that:

  1. Miners will get a guaranteed minimum price for their gold, which increases financial security for the miners.
  2. Miners will receive a Fairtrade social premium, calculated as 10% of the applicable LBMA fixing, Ecological Fairtrade Gold as used by FTJCo, provides miners with a further 5% ecological premium.
  3. Miners have the opportunity to empower themselves through a stronger base for bargaining, better knowledge of market values, and the possibility of sourcing pre-financing from prospective buyers.
  4. Certified miners must use safe and responsible practices for management of toxic chemicals in gold recovery, such as mercury and cyanide, with the aim of eliminating their use entirely.
  5. The Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will not contribute to conflict or violence. On the contrary, where certified organisations are located in conflict areas, increased economic stability, transparency and traceability from sale of their certified gold may help contribute to peace-building.

SOURCE Fair Trade Jewelry Company

For further information:

Shelley McKay
416.619.0783
shelley@ftjco.com

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