Fairtrade International and Alliance for Responsible Mining end partnership on gold

The organisations had been engaged in a multi-year partnership to implement a shared vision of better conditions for artisanal and small-scale miners. After a review process the organisations have decided to phase out the Fairtrade and Fairminded dual label in favour of a more flexible model of co-operation for the future.

Both organisations are proud of the achievements made possible by the collaboration, namely the empowerment of miner´s organisations, raising awareness of issues in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector and providing businesses with a traceable source of responsibly mined and fairly traded gold, but also feel that greater progress can be made in the sector by working independently. Both Fairtrade and Alliance for Responsible Mining will continue to offer their respective labels and certification programmes separately.

--Press release below originally published on Fairtrade International website

The end of the partnership, effective 22 April, means the dual label on gold, silver and platinum will be phased out during 2013 and replaced with the highly recognised FAIRTRADE Mark only, creating a more consumer friendly label. The FAIRTRADE Mark is the world’s best known ethical label, recognized by over 80% of consumers in several global markets. The move will also help increase jeweller participation in the Fairtrade gold scheme and bring maximum benefits back to miners.

The decision to separate the labelling process for gold follows an extensive review of the current system, in which the market clearly called for a simplification of the existing Fairtrade and Fairmined label to facilitate market growth. It also comes at the natural end of a three year pilot partnership with ARM.

Fairtrade International and ARM jointly launched Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in the UK in 2011, closely followed by launches in other global markets. Both partners in the pilot project shared a common vision to create better conditions for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM). The partnership successfully brought about empowerment of miner’s organisations, raising awareness of issues in the ASM sector and providing businesses with a traceable source of responsibly mined and fairly traded gold.

“Working with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has helped make miners a more powerful part of the industry, but we’re really just at the beginning of our journey,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “We’re determined to put the spotlight on the challenges which miners face, to grow the market for Fairtrade gold, and to bring about improvement and change, to ensure a better future for miners and their families.”

“We are very proud of our achievements in the mining sector to date”, said Chris Davis, Head of Producer Services Africa & Middle East at Fairtrade International. “Going forward, the two partner organizations hope that by working more independently, yet cooperating wherever possible, we can make greater progress towards further improved terms of trade for disadvantaged miners in the future.”

“Fairtrade remains focused on continuing to improve working conditions, environmental standards and terms of trade for ASM mining organizations and providing a growing sustainable source of responsibly mined gold for jewellers, jewellery manufacturers and ethical investment houses.”

Both partners will phase out the dual label through 2013, but continue to offer respective label certification programmes separately.

In the first year of Fairtrade and Fairmined certification alone, people living in the isolated Peruvian community of Santa Filomena have reaped the benefits of being Fairtrade certified. Thanks to the Fairtrade Premium generated by Sotrami, the community have been able to invest in improved healthcare, primary school facilities and new computers for the senior school. They also opened a not-for-profit convenience store which means the 500-strong community can buy food at reasonable prices.