No Dirty Gold


The more you know, the less gold glows.

This Valentine’s Day, over 80 jewelry retailers make a lasting commitment to clean up dirty metals


February 14, 2012

Macy’s and Costco continue dodge responsibility, falling behind industry standard

WASHINGTON, DC: Over 80 jewelry retailers from around the world, including 8 of the top 10 US retailers, have committed to cleaning up dirty metals by signing the No Dirty Gold campaign’s “Golden Rules” for more responsible metals sourcing.  This is good news for consumers, the environment, and the communities who live with metals mining – the largest toxic polluter in the U.S.  Unfortunately, two companies, Macy’s and Costco, among the top 10 US jewelry retailers, lag behind and have yet to meaningfully commit to cleaning up their gold supply chain.

“Dirty gold must become a thing of the past,” said No Dirty Gold campaign director Payal Sampat.  She continued, “No one wants their Valentine’s Day jewelry tainted with human rights abuses or toxic pollution. But this can’t happen unless companies like Macy’s commit to cleaning up their supply chains and sign the Golden Rules. ”

The Golden Rules are a set of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for gold and other precious metals.  Jewelers who have signed the Golden Rules are committed to work to sell more responsible gold jewelry. Securing jeweler commitments to end dirty gold production is a crucial step because approximately 80 percent of newly mined gold is made into jewelry.

The world’s largest jewelry retailers including Tiffany & Co., Target, Sears/Kmart and JCPenney have all committed to taking steps to clean up irresponsible gold mining, such as studying their metals supply chains, revising their supplier sourcing criteria to include the Golden Rules, increasing recycled gold content, among others. Some have even signed the Bristol Bay pledge to refuse gold from the proposed Pebble mine in Alaska.

On February 13, No Dirty Gold activists hung a balloon banner at Macys’ Washington, DC flagship store, that said “Macy’s: Don’t Break Our Hearts. Dump Dirty Gold.”

“Until Macy’s ends its love affair with dirty gold, the company’s commitment to sustainability and transparency is just a bunch of hot air,” said No Dirty Gold campaign coordinator, Nick Magel.

Macy's remains one of the last major jewelry retailers to sign the Golden Rules. The department store chain, which includes Bloomingdale's, is the fifth-largest retailer of gold jewelry in the United States. Costco, the ninth largest, headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, has also failed to take responsible action to keep dirty gold out of its supply chain.

For more information:

Top 10 U.S. Jewelry Retailers in 2010
Rank Retailer 2010 Sales
(millions of US $)
1 Walmart* $2,800
2 Sterling Jewelers (Signet)* $2,744
3 Zale Corp.* $1,616
4 Tiffany & Co.* $1,575
5 Macy’s Inc. $1,500
6 QVC* $1,015
7 Sears Holding Corp.* $860
8 JCPenney* $710
9 Costco Wholesale Corp. $500
10 Target Stores* $465
Asterisked jewelers are Golden Rules signatories.
Source: National Jeweler

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