Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33

Thread: Would You Pay More For Fair Trade Gold?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,397

    Default Would You Pay More For Fair Trade Gold?

    In many parts of the world gold is mined under diabolical conditions. Here is one link about this; http://af.reuters.com/article/metals...71827920110209 .

    At present I can't see any source for lone artisan jewellers. How wold you have it certified and then present it to your customers? There is certainly scope for a rip-off.
    Please Join in and let us have your thoughts.

    Would You Pay More For Fair Trade Gold? Dennis.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    No, I definitely wouldn't.

    I feel that, just like "free-range" eggs and "organic" sweetcorn, giving consumers labelling choices plays into the hands of unscrupulous middle-men and suppliers that manipulate the system far more readily than it supports the exploited or the environment. I don't feel that a handful of successes in any way justifies the more general failure.

    I would, however, consider buying only artificial gems, especially diamonds, on ethical grounds... even though that would broaden the trade imbalance with poorer countries and reduce the income of impoverished miners still further.

    Local governments should set, monitor and enforce ethical standards, starting with their own internal corruption.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Edinburgh
    Posts
    7

    Default

    I think there may well be a case for it. I'm not in the position where I would be making such a decision about buying gold, but my background in the organic food industry has taught me that when such labels and standards are enforced as stringently as they are in the UK, it can have a very positive effect on suppliers throughout the chain. Of course, corruption is always lurking, it would be a huge undertaking and governments absolutely do have a burden of responsibility, (and on a side note there are very, very specific controversies with the Fair Trade label that don't apply - to stick with the food comparison a little longer - to "organic" and "free-range")...but who's to say Fair Trade gold wouldn't help kick start a more general ethical purchasing patterns and / or government thinking? (Let's face it, they only ever do anything if they think it'll get some votes, lol.) I think for that reason alone it'd be worth considering

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    I'd be curious to ask an insider in organic food production, about the use of pesticides: everyone I meet seems to think that "organic" food is produced without pesticides and are shocked when I tell them that this is not so - organic producers are allowed to use many pesticides, some of which (based on heavy metals) are considered by WHO to be significantly more dangerous to health than "non-organic" alternatives.

    It seems to me that popular TV shows like "River Cottage" have lead people to believe that "organic" food is produced in some sort of cared-for allotment with gardeners agonising over each slug and carrot.

    The same type of television show portrays "free-range" chickens as happy individuals pecking and scratching as god (or Darwin) intended rather than the reality of animals in flocks of thousands with their beaks cut-off, no longer able to peck at anything!

    Just as "free-range" and "organic" persuade millions of people that they are buying some sort of olde-worlde country ideal when the reality is as grim and profit conscious as the factory alternative, "fair-trade" hides in the folds of the term layers of corruption and exploitation that would make those same purchasers blanch.

    If you're not buying the nugget from the grimy, toothless Mexican who personally dragged it from the dirt, then you are just inside the great machine of politics and exploitation... keep your eye on the bottom-line and let their governments deal with the ethics!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    5,072

    Default

    Joe, you're a cynic There are seemingly so many ways the organic or free range label can be earned that have little to do with the animal's welfare (as opposed to box-ticking) that it is very difficult to have any confidence in it as a guarantee.

    With food, there may be a perceptible difference in well-raised meat (less so IMO in veg); with gold - well, it's gold... Fair-trade gold is chemically the same as maximum exploitation gold - and anyway, what about the amount of gold that is recycled (so presumably even more ecologically friendly than the mined stuff)? Any certification system is surely going to be ripe for abuse, and I'm not convinced that we'd be any the wiser; similarly, if I were to purchase 1 lot of certificated, fair-trade gold and then use that along with 10 times the amount of "other" gold, how is the customer going to know? I've got a certificate that says it is, after all?!

    Yes, *my* personal ethics wouldn't allow for that, but I'm quite aware that not everyone operates at the same level...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,397

    Default

    Yes and will the tin and copper in the alloy be fair trade too, or are only the Gold miners to be singled out? It seems to me that the sponsors of this scheme might be the main beneficiaries by showing off their humane public faces. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 15-02-2011 at 04:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    5,072

    Default

    I note that Benchpeg has a short piece on Fairtrade & Fairmined gold this week (now they're back from hiatus). There is the comment that the accreditation scheme was light on detail; additionally, if the output is going to be 400kg annually, I doubt that anyone small is going to get a look-in.

    The complete press release on the Fairtrade/Fairmined gold (which includes the list of jewellers who have been accredited) is here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Edinburgh
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe View Post
    I'd be curious to ask an insider in organic food production, about the use of pesticides: everyone I meet seems to think that "organic" food is produced without pesticides and are shocked when I tell them that this is not so - organic producers are allowed to use many pesticides, some of which (based on heavy metals) are considered by WHO to be significantly more dangerous to health than "non-organic" alternatives.

    The same type of television show portrays "free-range" chickens as happy individuals pecking and scratching as god (or Darwin) intended rather than the reality of animals in flocks of thousands with their beaks cut-off, no longer able to peck at anything!

    Just as "free-range" and "organic" persuade millions of people that they are buying some sort of olde-worlde country ideal when the reality is as grim and profit conscious as the factory alternative, "fair-trade" hides in the folds of the term layers of corruption and exploitation that would make those same purchasers blanch.
    Hey Joe!

    Just getting back to you re: the pesticides - the truth is I'm no chemist so, but I do know that far fewer chemicals are allowed than in conventional farming. I haven't head the argument before that it's more dangerous / harmful than conventional farming...but I have had to explain the presence of bugs on lettuces more times than I care to think about, proving our farmers at least were aiming for the "pesticides only as a last resort" school of thought as per est practice, lol :P Also I really have to dispute it's "as grim and profit conscious as the factory alternative". You're right that a farm is a working farm and NOT Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's back garden...but it's still a far cry from the absolute horror of an factory farm. (And as point of reference, I was as much of a cynic about it as you before I got into the industry, and remain very much a carnivore.)

    Of course, you're quite right that Organic standards vary from country to country (though it shouldn't be confused with "Free Range" or "Freedom Food" - both have lower standards of animal welfare) and I too find the muddying of standards and labelling annoying as all hell!

    Anyway, I won't keep this off-thread any longer as the original question was definitely about metal and we ARE on a jewellers' forum after all! But if anyone else is interested in looking at the reality of organic standards - everything from pesticides to flock sizes - I would always recommend the Soil Association's website as the definitive resource on all things organic in the UK.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Brittany
    Posts
    776

    Default

    Yikes I have been known to search the internets for blood diamonds so I am not sure I would be going for fair trade gold and if my name were Naomi I would have kept my trap shut.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by strigeda View Post
    far fewer chemicals are allowed than in conventional farming
    It's not about the 'number' of substances, but how dangerous they are to health! "Never mind the quality, feel the width" (showing my age again). Copper hydroxide & copper sulphate pentahydrate are not nice, fluffy huggable substances that you should be happy to add to infant formula, but they are "organic". Soil Association? More people making money out of the "organic" label. The label means nothing - or at least nothing good for consumers.

    Likewise the label "fair-trade" applied to gold.

    As far as ethical jewellery is concerned, I'm looking into Moissanite. It's not really a synthetic diamond, but it is long lasting, you can leave it in the setting when you solder and no one gets tortured, killed, displaced, poisoned or dismembered in it's production! Sounds more ethical than "organic" or "fair-trade" in my book!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •