© Eduardo Martino

July 2012

We have recently received concerns about the potential impacts of the recognition of the producer section of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard (Part A) by the RJC’s Chain-of-Custody Standard and about the ARM and Fairtrade International partnership’s growing industry engagement. The recognition by RJC is intended to exemplify Fairtrade and Fairmined certification of artisanal and small scale mining organisations as best practice to the industry and provide increased market access for artisanal and small-scale miners to sell to RJC members.

We are extremely grateful for the dedication, passion and commitment of the individuals and companies, small and large, that have been the pioneers of Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold. We are also delighted by the growing consensus around our desire to scale up the Fairtrade and Fairmined gold market, to bring greater opportunities to the world´s artisanal and small-scale miners.

It is important to understand that to whom and where to sell gold always remains in the hands of miners. The recognition by RJC of the producer section (part A) of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard will provide miners with increased choices. Fairtrade and Fairmined certified miner organisations are already able to access Fairtrade and Fairmined markets by selling to registered traders who comply with the trader section of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards (Part B). Recognition by RJC of Fairtrade and Fairmined certified miners will now also enable them to sell their gold to RJC members certified against the RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard. The RJC recognition therefore provides miners with further market access through their certification.

Under the RJC recognition, it will not be possible to use the Fairtrade and Fairmined dual label, or for claims around our certification of the metal to be made, unless the trader purchasing from the miners is registered with the Fairtrade and Fairmined certification system and meets the requirements in the Fairtrade and Fairmined trader standards, including payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium. Fairtrade and Fairmined buyers who pay the Fairtrade Premium (an additional payment to be spent on social development within the miners’ community) remain the most attractive market to the gold miners who are eager to see sales increase.

As the gold industry adopts a wide variety of standards which aim to bring traceability to global gold supply chains, the partnership feels that the recognition of the producer section of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard under the RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard will be a step forward to recognising the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard as best practice in ASM and further integrating the miners into global supply chains.

ARM and Fairtrade envision an artisanal and small scale mining sector that flourishes as a legitimate, profitable and responsible activity, fully involved in the industry debates, initiatives and global agendas that impact it. Towards this end, we are reviewing the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standards, following the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for standard setting, and following the principles of third party verification, transparency and traceability. This will include review of the current traceability requirements as identified in the Fair Jewellery Action and Ethical Metalsmiths letter. As the system and standards evolve to meet the needs of miners and the market, we invite all interested parties to be part of this consultation process by registering your email at gro.g1627843034ninim1627843034ytinu1627843034mmoc@1627843034sdrad1627843034nats1627843034 or ku.gr1627843034o.eda1627843034rtria1627843034f@dlo1627843034g1627843034 .

Lina Villa, Executive Director, Alliance for Responsible Mining

Chris Davis, Director of Producer Partnerships, Fairtrade Foundation

Download our reponse with explanatory Q&A.

Read the letter we received from  Ethical Metalsmiths and Fair Jewelry Action and see the signature page.

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