A Green Standard for Gold

Can the gold industry be “green”?


The jewelry industry is not known for being green or even ethical. Think diamonds and you think Sierra Leone, Angola, and horrific violence for the shiny little stones.

But the demand for ethical jewelry is huge. Nobody wants to be the guy buying conflict diamonds anymore. Now, Fairtrade is beginning to certify ethical gold, and they plan to have ethical gold on the market by 2009.

According to a Fairtrade spokesman, ‘We’re interested in bringing our expertise in trying to get a better deal for small-scale producers, how to get a fairer price for their goods, how to use the sale of gold to improve terrible health and safety environmental issues, and set up best practice.’

The reality is a bit more complex. Jewelry requires so many different components it’s almost impossible to completely certify it as ethical. That would require certifying miners, smelters, jewelers, jewel miners, and a whole host of others to certify that one piece of jewelry was ethical. In the face of all this, gold may never be completely green.

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