Group pressures Macy’s on ethical sourcing
December 7, 2011
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Washington--Environmental group Earthworks is applying more public relations pressure to the jewelry industry, this time advocating for Macy’s to commit to sourcing gold ethically.
Earlier this month, Earthworks issued a statement calling out the department store chain for being one of the last major retailers that has yet to sign the No Dirty Gold campaign’s “Golden Rules,” a set of social, human rights and environmental criteria for mining gold and other precious metals.
Earthworks launched No Dirty Gold to educate and motivate consumers and jewelers to push the mining industry toward more responsible practices. More than 80 jewelry companies have signed the rules, including Tiffany & Co., Helzberg Diamonds, Zale Corp. and Signet Group, parent company of Sterling Jewelers.
Together with Change.org, Earthworks has launched a petition drive asking consumers to tell Macy’s they want the company to submit to using only ethically sourced gold. A similar petition conducted earlier this year convinced Target to sign the rules, Earthworks said.
Earthworks is the same organization that last month pressed Sterling Jewelers to sign the Bristol Bay Protection Pledge, a vow to boycott gold from the proposed open-pit mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
“Macy’s has a very clear choice,” said Nick Magel, international campaigns coordinator for Earthworks. “They can listen to their customers who want to know that their gold comes from ethical sources, or continue to hold out, sending the message that they don’t know value sustainability and transparency.”
Macy’s did not respond to request for comment on Earthworks’ statement.
In addition to Macy’s, Earthworks also issued a statement last week welcoming the decision of Newmont Mining Co. to suspend development of its Conga mine in northern Peru at the request of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Community members and elected officials have protested against the mine out of concern for its potential impact on the environment, the water and the health and livelihoods of the local people.