The laws of economics tell us that in commerce, those who are at the start of the production chain tend to profit the least, while those who stand at the end of the retail chain have the most to gain. That’s because producers tend to need to spend more but retail their products for less. As a result, producers often squeeze out larger profits by skimping on other things, like welfare and other socially important matters.
Producers of raw materials tend to profit the least
The fair trade movement aims to eliminate this. A social idea that ‘s designed to encourage a more ethical and sustainable process in farming commodities, it established rules and standard operating procedures through which a farmer could obtain fair trade status and thus charge a minimum premium for his products, that’s on the upper end of the profit scale for that industry and thus gave him better returns. However, fair trade also has an extensive and rigorous social infrastructure that needs to be put in place, something that costs a lot at the start and not all farmers can afford to do.
Gold from a fairtrade mine has to be separately packed and labelled
Fair mining works in much the same way. Established by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and supported by Chopard for several years now, it imposes strict rules that mine owners need to abide by, ranging from safety standards to the use of liquids in mining, welfare and family provisions for miners, et cetera. Fair mining today applies to precious metals such as gold and silver, but hopefully in the near future will engage other products.
Declaring a Fairmined product, however, is challenging. Unlike diamonds, where its source can be easily ascertained, gold, once melted, is an element that is universal. Thus Chopard had to establish a completely separate production line for its Fairmined products, one that was at great expense to the company. Its collection today, though small, demonstrates the impact one company can have on the world, by being responsible.
Chopard’s Palme Verte collection this year. It had to create a completely separate production line for its Fairmined jewellery and timepieces (shown below)
More importantly, Chopard is embarking on an even deeper involvement in Fairmined gold, by helping mines that it has determined, along with the ARM, are keen to gain Fairmined status and are close to meeting standards, to achieve the standards demanded of a Fairtrade mine. It’s investing both time, energy and money to this aspect of the project, in the hopes of producing more Fairmined gold, and also to encourage other brands to join in and support this important act.
The Chopard L.U.C. Tourbillon Qualite Fleurier Fairmined timepiece offers a C.O.S.C certified tourbillon with the FQF certificate and a Fairmined case
Mining comes at a cost to the Earth. For an ounce of gold, 30 tonnes of rock need to be dug up. Yet the people who do this earn low wages and experience great danger, both in terms of the environment and the chemicals used to mine various materials. Fairmined gold aims to change that by making us realise that paying that little more for a product that ensures the people behind it are fairly treated, is a small price to pay, both to the Earth and miners. Chopard has pledged its allegiance to this project. You should too.
The L.U.C. XPS Fairmined in Fairmined rose gold
Find out more about fairtrade mining here and Chopard’s work in it, in the videos below. It’s a noble effort that should be admired.