Recognition of Fairtrade gold standard to benefit artisanal miners

Responsible Jewellery Council recently announced a decision to recognise Part A of the Fairtrade and Fairminded Standard as a Responsible Mining Standard under the RJC Chain of Custody (COC) Standard for precious metals, signalling a commendable example of coordination amongst certification programmes in the jewellery supply chain.

The full press release is available to read here.

Launched in 2011, the Fairtrade and Fairminded Standard is the result of a partnership between ISEAL member Fairtrade International and ISEAL affiliate Alliance for Responsible Mining, to improve conditions and support social, environmental and economic development for artisanal and small-scale mining communities, and create markets for certified gold. ISEAL member RJC also operates in the mining and jewellery sector, and in cooperation with ARM, it explored the compatibility of the Fairtrade and Fairminded Standard with its own Code of Practices standard for responsible production. RJC’s Chain of Custody Standard allows standards whose positive impacts on mining communities are comparable to the RJC Standard to be recognised. This formal recognition process illustrates how credible standards can support each other’s work.

In its press release, RJC stated that it hoped to promote the certification of artisanal and small-scale producers and allow them to access new and diversified markets. The landmark decision will enable downstream RJC Chain of Custody certified entities to include Fairtrade and Fairminded gold and mix it with other defined eligible sources, such as gold certified to the RJC standard and recycled gold.  

The move is important because the increased transparency requirements and concerns about sourcing in conflict areas, as reflected in US Dodd-Frank legislation, have created the risk that artisanal and small-scale miners might lose markets for their products and become even more vulnerable to illegal practices. By facilitating a connection between RJC CoC Certified refiners and certified producers, RJC is aiming to help integrate responsible production into the formal economy and create opportunities for small-scale miners.

The full press release is available to read here

Click here for a short Q&A from RJC about the recognition and the implications for claims and labelling

More information about the Fairtrade and Fairminded Standard can be found here