Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No Dirty Gold Campaign + Ethical Metalsmiths

The No Dirty Gold campaign was started by EARTHWORKS, "a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide. EARTHWORKS stands for clean water, healthy communities and corporate accountability. We're working for solutions that protect the earth's resources and communities."

The No Dirty Gold
campaign has been established to raise awareness among consumers, retailers and makers of jewelry about the health and environmental impacts of mining metals used in all industries- tin (food cans), aluminum (soda cans), gold and silver (jewelry + electronics) etc.

Quick facts from the No Dirty Gold campaign website:

About Mining:

  • A single gold ring leaves in its wake at least 20 tons of mine waste.
  • Open-pit gold mines essentially obliterate the landscape, opening up vast craters, flattening or even inverting mountaintops, and producing 8 to 10 times more waste than underground mining.
  • Cyanide is used by large mining operations to separate gold from ore. Cyanide pollution is a major concern. A rice-grain sized dose of cyanide can be fatal to humans; concentrations of 1 microgram (one-millionth of a gram) per liter of water can be fatal to fish.
  • Metals mining employs just 0.09 percent of the global workforce but consumes as much as 10 percent of world energy.
  • Between 1995 and 2015, approximately half the gold produced worldwide has or will come from indigenous peoples' lands.
  • Metals mining is the number one toxic polluter in the United States, responsible for 89% of arsenic releases, 85% of mercury releases, and 84% of lead releases in 2004.
  • The world's largest open pit, the Bingham Canyon mine in Utah, is visible to astronauts from outer space. It measures 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) deep and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) across.
  • 120,000 tons of toxic waste spilled from the Baia Mare gold mine in Romania in 2000, contaminating the drinking water of 2.5 million people and killing 1,200 tons of fish.

About the U.S. Jewelry Market:

  • More than 80 percent of gold in the U.S. is used to make jewelry.
  • U.S. gold jewelry sales were an estimated $19 billion in 2006, accounting for 31 percent of the $62 billion U.S. jewelry market.
  • Nearly half of all people surveyed by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council call jewelry their favorite Valentine's Day gift.
  • Jewelry is among the most popular Valentine's Day gifts, following cards and candy. 28 percent of shoppers gave a gift of jewelry last Valentine's Day.
  • Eight of the top ten U.S. jewelry retail companies (by sales) have endorsed the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules. These companies are: Wal-Mart, Sterling, Zale Corp., QVC, Tiffany & Co., Helzberg Diamonds, and Fred Meyer Jewelers and J.C. Penney.
  • The companies who have endorsed the Golden Rules represent about $14.5 billion in jewelry sales, or 23 percent of the U.S. jewelry market.

Please visit the No Dirty Gold and EARTHWORKS website to read the valuable information you need to know before you make your next jewelry purchase, jewelry supply purchase or even open your next tin of food. Also please sign their campaign pledge. Everyone knows about blood diamonds we should now be asking what we can do and how to help our jewelers to obtain metal more responsibly.

More info:

Ethical Metalsmiths was started by metalsmiths and Society of North American Goldsmith members Susan Kingley and Christina Tatiana Miller. Ethical Metalsmiths have organised jewelry exhibitions such as 'Composting Good and Evil' and projects such as 'Radical Jewelry Makeover' to raise awareness about mining practices and their impact on our environment.

Please show your support - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!


Mike Brady said...

This is a great campaign. Consumers can do a lot to hold corporations to account.

Professionally I work in monitoring an industry sector around the world and taking action to hold it accountable to international standards.

This has led me to think a great deal about more effective ways of holding corporations accountable when national measures prove ineffective. To this end, I took part in a Task Force of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition to investigate the use of current human rights norms to argue that nations have a collective responsibility to hold corporations accountable. How this might be better achieved in practice is discussed in detail in the chapter I contributed to the book resulting from this project, called “Global Obligations for the Right to Food”.

Amongst the proposals is for a global regulatory system. I have developed this proposal further and submitted it for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy, which is being developed as part of a global democratic movement bringing people together around the world to debate, develop and approve the policies they wish to see implemented to address global problems. The proposal goes under the title: “World Transnational Corporation Regulatory Authority”.

I would very much appreciate your views on these proposals and to discuss any common ground we may have in pursuing this or similar proposals.

You can find further details of the proposal and the book on my blog at:

skowood said...

I'm well impressed with your proposal for the World Transnational Regulatory Authority and do think there are some overlaps to be explored with EARTHWORKS and Ethical Metalsmiths. Have you been in touch with them?

I'm not familiar with the lobbying process with these organizations as you seem to be so you might want to contact them directly. Please do keep me informed of your activities as I will do my part in supporting your efforts.

Thank you for the links and info I have a lot of reading to do now. ;)