1 Supply meets demand
As the global demand for silver, gold and precious stones increases over time, so too does the pressure on suppliers to meet that demand. As a consequence, mining communities around the world are forced to work in hazardous environments for an inadequate wage. Meanwhile, unregulated mining practices devastate fragile ecosystems through erosion, the formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and the contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water.
2 The life of a miner
Did you know that small-scale miners produce 15% of global gold supplies, but make up 90% of labour in metal extraction? There are an estimated 100 million families involved in small-scale mining throughout the world, and many of these miners find it hard to access legal mining rights, pushing them into running informal and illegal operations. Often, they work in hazardous conditions with little to no health and safety measures in place. Meanwhile the unskilled, unregulated and uneducated use of toxic chemicals such as mercury poses a risk to the health of the miners, their communities and the environment.
3 The meaning of fair trade
The Fairtrade certification means that miners are paid a guaranteed minimum price. In addition, they receive a premium to invest back into their community. This enables them to improve quality of life for their families, and develop fair trading relationships with commercial partners. Achieving Fairtrade certification also requires small-scale mining organisations to meet rigorous Fairtrade standards on working conditions, child labour, women’s rights, technology, health and safety, organisational management, the traceability of their mining operations, and responsible environmental management.
4 Taking responsibility
At Freeman Jewellery, it’s important to us that the materials we use are ethically sourced, responsibly mined, and deliver economic justice to the miners involved in their extraction. That’s why all our metals have the Fairtrade certification, and can be traced through transparent supply chains to the source. In addition, our diamonds are certified conflict-free by the Kimberly Process, and our gems are sourced through ethical organisations across the world.