Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 18, 2006
Clean gold bling gets a thumbs up
British shoppers demand ethically manufactured jewelry
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
"We have to break this destructive pattern by challenging businesses to clean up their act"
- Chris Bain
The report focused on Honduras in Central America and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
"Gold is one of the most prized commodities and a symbol of wealth and power," said CAFOD director Chris Bain at the time of the report's release.
"But how often do we think about how gold reaches our high streets? Gold doesn't look quite so shiny to many people in developing countries living in and around gold mines.
"To them, gold often means poverty, health risks and destruction of their homes and environment."
"Much of this can be blamed on the activities of multinational gold mining companies," Bain said.
"We have to break this destructive pattern by challenging businesses to clean up their act and stop undermining the poor."
The YouGov survey pointed out that many consumers are unaware that too often gold-mining companies are failing to consult local communities and that there are major social and environment costs of gold mining.
But when asked about corporate responsibility the poll revealed that two out of three people (65 per cent) believe gold mining companies should be responsible for limiting any environmental damage caused by their operations.
CAFOD is urging the public to "use your consumer power" by purchasing from those retailers who are supporting industry standards as outlined in its 12 Gold Rules for No Dirty Gold and asking those who have not signed it yet to do so.
The "golden rules" include: respect for human rights; "free, prior and informed consent for affected communities"; safe working conditions for labourers; assurances that projects do not force communities off their lands; no dumping of mine waste into water sources; no mining operations in places of armed conflict nor ecologically fragile areas; full disclosure of social and environmental effects of mining operations; and covering all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites.
While acknowledging that only a few UK retailers have formally endorsed the standards, CAFOD noted that Tiffany's, the Signet Group and Cartier publicly support the "golden rules."
"We hope that the UK's leading jewelry retailers will not only sign up to the Golden Rules, but work actively with their suppliers and mining companies to set new and robust standards for the gold industry," Maldar said.
(© Catholic Online 2006, www.catholic.org)
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.