A meaningful gold
Artisanal gold mining is carried out by 20 million miners who support more than 100 million people across more than 50 countries in some of the poorest regions of the world. These territories are victims of economic exploitation, corruption, human rights abuses, child labour, but also of health risks and environmental illegalities. The discharge of mercury, cyanide and other toxic substances causes serious air, soil and water pollution. The technologies are rudimentary and working conditions are often dangerous.
Faced with these issues, Fairmined ethical gold is a positive, innovative and promising response. It is produced by human-scale artisanal mining communities, held to rigorous environmentally-friendly standards of transparency, environmental protection and social commitment.
As the first French ethical jewellery brand, JEM is committed to the exclusive promotion and use of ethical Fairmined Gold. The program, created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in 2007 and resulting in the Fairmined label in 2014, aims to implement mining facilities that apply rigorous ecological, social and humane standards. Unlike other forms of uncontrolled gold panning, this mining industry is legal, organized by and for the miners themselves, in a cooperative-style management. It respects the environment, human rights, international labor regulations, and applies Fairtrade standards.
Today, nine mines in the world have obtained this label, in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Mongolia, and around fifty are in the process of being transformed and certified. The Fairmined label audits and certifies not only the mines where the gold is extracted, but also each of the players in the chain (refiners, alloyers, smelters, jewellers), ensuring that the gold is used exclusively and that its traceability is respected, from the mine to the final product. Audited every year, JEM is Fairmined licensed.
Social and environmental impacts
Fairmined Gold mining provides a rewarding labor environment, with decent working conditions and fair wages. The "human development" bonus – granted by partners of the Fairmined label – goes toward implementing and managing healthcare facilities, insurance, and education for children. This activity contributes to the growth of local economy, reduces poverty and corruption (money laundering, weapon funding) and helps to bring social appeasement in these countries. By giving craft miners access to export markets for their raw materials in fairer conditions, by strengthening their social status within their own countries (but also in the international trade market), Fairmined allows them to practice their craft with pride and dignity.
Fairmined’s actions reduce the harmful impact of uncontrolled gold mining. Several steps in the production process replace the use of mercury in favor of less harmful chemicals. Strict control of chemical manipulation and waste prevents the contamination of the soil and water, thereby protecting the food chain. Small-scale artisanal exploitation helps protect biodiversity. The label also anticipates and organizes the restoration of original ecosystems.