Gold

You cannot drink it, you cannot eat it, and still gold is one of the most precious materials and the most revered embodiment of human luxury and prosperity. Apart from jewellery and ornaments, gold is used as value storage and medium of exchange as well as a raw material for many technological devices such as smart phone batteries and microchips. All this creates tremendous commercial activity around gold and makes its extraction, trade and processing a multi-billion dollar business.

Despite gold’s large economic significance, the metal often yields little returns for the miners that extract it from the soil. This is especially true of the 30 million artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) who extract roughly 15 percent of the world’s gold and represent 90 percent of the workers in mining. They often face exploitation and dangerous working conditions. Fairtrade established the Fairtrade Gold Standard to give companies and consumers the opportunities to improve the livelihoods of these miners.

What Fairtrade Means for Gold Producers

Fairtrade International is bringing the first ever Fairtrade certified gold jewellery to market. This groundbreaking initiative offers a lifeline to economically disadvantaged artisanal miners and their communities.

Like producer organizations certified under other products, Fairtrade offers mining organizations and their communities a better deal. Miners get market access and a fair price for their gold, along with the Fairtrade Premium, for investment in economic, social or environmental improvements.

The Fairtrade standards for gold ensure that the gold has been extracted and processed and traded in a fair and responsible manner. This includes mandatory use of protective gear, health and safety training for all miners, safe responsible use of chemicals and freedom of association.

Fairtrade and Fairmined gold miners are organized in cooperatives or associations which are owned and democratically governed by the miners. You can read a number of case-studies of Fairtrade miners at the Fairtrade Gold website.

To find out which gold mining organizations are currently Fairtrade certified, you can check the database available on the FLOCERT website. Read more

General Gold Facts

  • 90 percent of global gold demand is for high value gold, i.e. gold bullions for value storage and expensive jewellery. The remaining ten percent are used in a wide range of electronical products.
  • Around 1/3 of this demand is covered through recycled gold and 2/3 come from mining extraction.
  • Because of its long-term price stability national governments store large amounts of gold as value reserves. The gold treasure of the United States in Fort Knox is probably the most famous example of this and the public’s uncertainty about its exact size has led to a vast number of speculations, myths and conspiracy theories.
  • India is the world’s number one market for gold jewellery. Hindu religion assigns a high symbolic value to gold and the Indian wedding season has been linked to spikes in global gold prices, because of the quantities of gold jewellery worn and given at wedding ceremonies.
  • Because of mercury’s adverse effects on human health and the environment, several states have signed the 2013 Mercury Convention, a treaty which aims to minimize mercury usage, also in mining.

Where to Buy

Fairtrade products are sold in over 130 countries. For more information on Fairtrade near you, visit Fairtrade Near You or select one of the countries in blue on the map below. If you’re interested in selling Fairtrade or sourcing Fairtrade products in your country, see our information about selling Fairtrade.


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