At Tootsievalentine®, we make our jewellery using Fairtrade gold and recycled gold wherever possible. We're often asked why we do this and whether it really makes a difference. We whole-heartedly believe it does make a difference and the reason we use Fairtrade gold is because it supports small-scale miners who receive a guaranteed Fair Minimum Price and a Premium. This goes back into their communities to pay for education, clean water and healthcare and can be spent on improving their businesses. Gold mining is an extremely hazardous and dirty industry. Gold miners often work in dangerously harsh conditions in extreme heat and surrounded by toxic waste containing cyanide and mercury, without health and safety regulations in place to protect them during their work. Fairtrade certification directly supports small-scale miners who produce gold by setting strict standards on working conditions, women’s rights, child labour and environmental management. The Fairtrade Foundation states that “in return, miners gain access to markets and receive the Fairtrade Premium – the extra sum they receive to develop their businesses and invest into their communities.” For consumers, Fairtrade gold offers a traceable supply chain from mine to the finished piece of jewellery. This gives peace of mind that the jewellery they’re wearing hasn’t included exploitation, it caused less environmental damage, it hasn’t involved child labour and instead it has had a positive impact on the communities at the source of the gold.
We aim to be as transparent as possible and you will note that not all of our jewellery is made from Fairtrade gold yet. This is due to weight to alloy ratios that are regulated by the Fairtrade Foundation. We are constantly in the process of thinking ahead in regards to our upcoming and future collections and how we can ensure that the designs are able to meet the Fairtrade licencing regulations. This is an ongoing process and we hope that one day in the near future, all of our designs will be made using only Fairtrade gold. In the meantime, we like to think that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. As a company, we hope to raise awareness of the need for Fairtrade gold. We also add our voice to the increasing number of retailers who care about where their raw materials come from and the people who produce them.