In January 2011, Stephen Webster, founder and creative director
of Stephen Webster Ltd., traveled to Peru to experience Fairtrade gold firsthand,
and, to see how Fairtrade certification will impact small scale and artisanal
mining communities, which account for 90 percent of labor in gold extraction, and
often experience high levels of poverty because of middle men who pay below
market prices for gold purchases.
“Once we get started we intend to quickly grow the volume of
business we conduct using Fairtrade gold,” Webster stated. “One day, I want it
to be 100 percent of the gold we sell.”
Webster’s first collection will be a part of the brand’s
first engagement and wedding ring collection. The designer also says he will
absorb the additional initial 10 percent premium to work with Fairtrade gold.
The Fairtrade gold project was first organized by Fairtrade
International and the Alliance for Responsible Mining, with mining organizations
from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Fairtrade and Fairmined gold recently
launched in February 2011 in the U.K., with a goal to roll out in other countries
and capture 5 percent of the gold jewelry market over a 15-year period.
Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be co-labelled, bearing both the Fairtrade
Mark and the Fairmined Mark, demonstrating the strength of the partnership
between the two organizations.
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