Since we are part of a whole.
Guided by common sense and the hope of a better world, I want to spread the idea of a jewellery business which is aware of the different stakes within it. Eco-friendly jewellery must cease to be identified with a handful of intellectuals to become a reference in the beauty market.
Luxury will only gain status if it is associated with respect.
There are many of us who want industrial and craft production to be associated with noble values.
Whether they be moral, social or environmental, it is our duty as craftsmen and entrepreneurs to use all our resources to help create a better world.
That is why I have chosen ethical jewellery, where every gram of gold can be traced from the mine to the workshop. Since it is extracted in a way which respects the environment, in safe, decent working conditions, I know I am working with "clean" gold.
Thanks to the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and the development of the Fairmined label, we all have within our grasp the keys to make mining into a positive force, thus ensuring not only the protection of the environment, but also the social development of independent communities.
By wearing Fairmined jewellery:
- you support independent communities
- you encourage responsible practices in entrepreneurship and trade
- you help to free underage workers and their families
- and you contribute to social development and the protection of the environment.
I am going to explain how it all works. First , you will find a summary. Then, for those who want to know more, I will explain what the ARM requires of mines with the Fairmined label. And, if I haven't answered all your questions, you can contact me here.
Fairmined is a standard and a label certifying that the gold bearing its stamp is produced by independent, responsible, small-scale mines which guarantee a legal mining activity.
The STANDARD aims at creating opportunities for small-scale, independent miners and their families.
Its general aim is to encourage the progressive organisation of the sector of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), leading to safer working conditions and improved rights for miners, as well as reinforcing miners' organisations, so that they can campaign for legislation and political powers to support their rights and allow the development of a responsible ASM. The STANDARD relies on respect for the ASM of the legislation of the countries concerned.
It leads to a better management of the environment and helps in particular to attenuate the results of the use of mercury and other toxic chemicals and to improve the restoration of the environment and the responsible management of water.
It encourages the well-being of the children and families of mining communities, brings them better conditions of social protection , equality of the sexes, child welfare and helps stop child labour in certified organisations.
The STANDARD stimulates the ASM to become economically, technically, ecologically and socially viable, taking into account the size and the particularities of each one.
Via access to a fairer market and the bonus for social investment, it brings advantages to local communities within ecosystems rich in mineral resources and improves governance in the mining sector. Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining guarantees a living to an estimated 15 million miners. It is further estimated that more than 100 million people are dependent on this activity for direct or indirect revenue.
The FAIRMINED certification programme aims at creating opportunities for artisanal miners and their families, who often associate mining with agriculture, livestock breeding or other rural activities.
To sum up:
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Small scale operations with a reduced impact on the environment
A guarantee of safe handling and reduced access to chemical products
A positive effect on the environment and the protection of water sources
DECENT WORKING CONDITIONS
Contracts and stable working conditions
A safe workplace
Freedom to form a union and negotiate collectively
A SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL
Fairmined gold has no connection with war zones and child labour is forbidden
The ARM encourages equality of the sexes and fights against all forms of discrimination
Women and men have the same salary
A SERENE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The guarantee of a minimum price for gold
Each order of gold leads to the payment of an additional bonus
The organisation is stronger and its commercial relationships are improved
In order to attain the Fairmined certificate, the miners must set up a Mining Organisation which must be recognised as artisanal and small-scale.
The following are required:
- Setting up a legal and transparent structure, the election of a representative, a financial audit in line with nation legislation
- A complete register of all the miners allowed to extract and process the minerals containing gold, a written description and a map showing the organisation's mines
- An internal control system, recording delivery dates, quantities supplied, areas of origin, the gold content of the minerals and, where applicable, the results of laboratory tests
Random visits by officials take place to monitor daily deliveries at the treatment facilities
The managers of the mining organisations are part of the community and can not be shareholders of industrial mining capital
The taxes and mining rights paid by the mining organisations are, in part, redistributed to the mining regions, where the money can be used for infrastructures, education, health and improving the quality of life.
The Organisations must demonstrate that they are developing their activity without destroying the natural resources needed by other groups in the local community ( farmers, livestock breeders, etc)
No part of the revenue of the ASMO (Artisanal and Small scale Mining Organisation) must finance illegal activities or warfare, whether directly or indirectly. All mining is done with the agreement of the legal and traditional authorities of the local community.
The mining organisations must commit to setting up community actions for the protection of children and must develop pro-active and eco-friendly actions with a particular interest in:
- the situation of women and children in the community
- child labour and forced labour
The mining organisations forbid burning of amalgams in the living zones of the community
Preservation of biodiversity, protection of forests and water management:
They also work with other communities and the authorities to monitor and ensure the sustainability of forests and water both within the mining zones and around them
Full traceability is a permanent obligation in order to protect both workers and customers.
The standard follows the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man to end all forms of discrimination ( ethnic or social origins, political opinions, sex, language, religion, handicap, marital status, age ). No discrimination is accepted with respect to voting rights, the right to be elected, access to learning opportunities or technical aid, etc ...
Appropriate measures are taken to ensure parity. Women miners and minority groups are given equal access to mineral resources and technical innovations and programmes are set up to improve access to training.
The demands of the label are such as to attenuate progressively the risks and negative impact of mining on the environment . The Fairmined standard is the vision of an artisanal mine without any environmental contamination and a commitment to environmental restoration.
DEALING WITH MERCURY
The elimination of mercury is one of the aims of the Label. However, its immediate and total suppression would exclude 95% of the artisanal miners seeking to respect the Fairmined values. In order to eliminate mercury, the standard is setting up a support programme for the ASMO, so that the use of mercury and cyanide can be reduced progressively, using responsible practices to reduce their impact on the environment and on human health.
(Since this part is a bit more technical and rather long, I can send you details year by year by e-mail, should you wish)
PROTECTION OF ECOSYSTEMS
The protection and restoration of the local ecosystem is an important part of the Label. The standard encourages environmental management practices through respect of legislation, water management, landscape restoration, risk prevention, waste management, reduction of acid mine drainage and the prevention of water pollution. It forbids mining in protected areas.
- For open air mines, the inclination of slopes and the height of banks must not exceed certain limits considered as safe for a particular type of ground and rock
- Fuel residues and their containers must not be thrown into water bodies or anywhere likely to contaminate the water system. They must be properly recycled or destroyed.
- Galleries and underground mine entrances must be filled or closed immediately after the end of digging to allow environmental regeneration and risk prevention
- Waste and contaminated water must not be thrown into water bodies or anywhere likely to contaminate the water system
- Working zones must be replanted in accordance with the ecosystem or restored in the respect of local planning
- Disposal of waste, chemical by-products and waste water must be properly planned and carried out by competent staff.
> WORKING CONDITIONS
Here are the four strategic objectives required by the label, founded on the idea of decent working conditions officialised by the International Labour Organisation as a worldwide objective: guarantee workers' rights, create jobs, spread social protection and promote social dialogue.
HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE
THE RIGHT TO WORK
The lack of childcare facilities in the community often makes it difficult to have children under the age of 6 looked after. Organisations must thus ensure that adequate childcare is provided for working and breastfeeding mothers.
-15-18 year-olds who find themselves responsible for younger siblings and who are seeking employment in the areas covered by the association raise a particularly thorny question. Either they knowingly countenance child labour or they refuse to give them a way of earning a living. If these children who are looking after younger siblings without any adult help are accepted and recognised as child workers in a zone covered by the association, the guiding principles of the United Nations for the Rights of Children ( UNICEF) must be applied to ensure their well-being and safety, but they may not be any younger than 15.
- They may not be given any work likely to be harmful to their health and safety or their values.
-Their work must not prevent them from attending school or be in any way harmful to their social, moral or physical development.
The programme must cover all children responsible for younger siblings in the sector covered by the organisation.
GOVERNANCE OF THE FAIRMINED BONUS
-> If you want to know any more, you can consult the website of the ARM ( Alliance for Responsible Mining) or that of Fairmined.