Frequently Asked Questions
What is the No Dirty Gold campaign?
What can I do to help promote more responsible mining?
Where can I buy gold that meets the criteria of the Golden Rules?
So how are we going to get certified cleaner gold?
What does endorsing the Golden Rules mean?
Who has signed the Golden Rules?
Who are the retailer laggards refusing to sign on to the Golden Rules?
1) What is the No Dirty Gold campaign?
The No Dirty Gold campaign is working to educate consumers, retailers, and the general public about the impacts of irresponsible gold mining, and to enlist their support to reform harmful mining practices. The campaign is not calling for a boycott of gold. It is calling on the mining industry to provide alternatives to irresponsibly mined gold, which today is too often produced at the expense of communities, workers, and the environment.
2) How can I as an individual help promote more responsible gold mining?
Join more than a hundred thousand consumers around the world in signing the pledge calling for alternatives to dirty gold. When you go jewelry shopping, use your consumer power! Make sure your jeweler is committed to the Golden Rules, or print out the Golden Rules and ask your jeweler to sign before you buy from them! (And don't forget to email us when they do.)
3) Where can I buy gold that meets the criteria of the Golden Rules?
The retailers on the list have taken an important step and committed to supporting the Golden Rules. They do not guarantee, however, that their gold sourcing currently abides by those rules. One reason the No Dirty Gold campaign exists is because there is no alternative for new cleaner gold available to consumers -- and we believe that market pressure can help create that option. Right now, stores don't offer cleaner gold this option and companies don't sell it. As a growing list of jewelry retailers signs on to the Golden Rules, the mining industry is beginning to get a strong signal that irresponsible practices are not acceptable. These retailers and thousands of consumers are in effect signaling to the marketplace that there is consumer demand for cleaner gold.
In the meantime, you can buy vintage or antique jewelry or jewelry made out of recycled gold. Several sources of such materials are available, including from some retailers who have signed the Golden Rules. And next time you are in a jewelry store, ask them to commit to the Golden Rules if they haven't already!
4) So how are we going to get certified cleaner gold?
The commitments made by the Golden Rules signatories represent an important first step. The next step is to create a system, as in the case of diamonds and wood products, that assures consumers and retailers that the gold they are buying has been produced in ways that minimize harm to people or the environment.
A multi-stakeholder group of retailers, mining companies, and NGOs called the Initiative for Responsible Mining (IRMA) is working to develop a system to independently verify compliance with best practice standards for mining. Also see www.frameworkforresponsiblemining.org for a possible set of standards for more responsible mining recently commissioned by a multi-stakeholder group of jewelers, NGOs, and financial institutions.
Any legitimate process for creating a cleaner gold certification must include participation by mining-affected communities and civil society and cannot be controlled by the jewelry and/or mining industries.
5) What does endorsing the Golden Rules mean?
The companies listed on our website have made in-principle commitments to the Golden Rules which are criteria for more responsible mining. These companies have agreed to actively work within their companies and with their suppliers and vendors to track the sources of their gold. They have also committed to sourcing from operations that respect social, human rights, and environmental standards in gold production, when such independently verified sources become available.
By doing so, these retailers are signaling to the mining industry that there is a demand for more responsibly produced gold from the sector that is the largest user of gold -- just as tens of thousands of individual consumers have already done over the last three years.
6) Who has signed on to the Golden Rules?
The current list includes 8 out of 10 of the largest U.S. jewelry firms, and comprises 22 percent of the country's total jewelry sales ($12 billion). The retailers represent a diverse cross-section of the market, ranging from high-end jewelers like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier to class rings maker Commemorative Brands (marketer of Balfour and ArtCarved rings) to retail giant Target, to boutique jewelers like Leber Jewelers and Brilliant Earth.
To see how these jewelers are faring, check out our report card. For more information about the importance of jewelry retailers to cleaning up dirty gold, check out our fact sheet.
7) Who are the retailer laggards refusing to sign on to the Golden Rules?
Macys and Costco, two the biggest jewelry retailers in the U.S., lag behind other jewelry industry leaders who have signed on to the Golden Rules and made public their commitment to responsible gold sourcing.
In the past, the No Dirty Gold campaign named 8 firms as "lagging behind" on commitments to responsible gold sourcing. Over the past year, several of these companies have joined the leadership group by signing the Golden Rules.
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