Sarena Ulibarri is a Justmeans staff writer for Ethical Consumption. Sarena has been a web writer since 2008 and has contributed content to eHow.com, education-portal.com, wiki.name.com, Associated Content from Yahoo! and other sites. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in '07 and will begin an MFA program in 2011....
Target Signs Agreement For Ethically Sourced Gold Jewelry
Target is the latest retailer to join the "No Dirty Gold" campaign by making a pledge to only source gold from mines that are socially and environmentally responsible. Target's commitment came after pressure from both "No Dirty Gold" and Change.org.
Target Signs The Golden Rules
Target's commitment to ethically sourced gold will affect the supply chain for their gold jewelry, and possibly some electronics as well. The guidelines for ethical gold sourcing established by Earthwork's "No Dirty Gold" campaign, called the "Golden Rules," address issues in gold mining such as working conditions, military conflict, waste management, environmental impact and transparency of ethical information. The campaign hopes that pressure from big-name retailers such as Target will cause more gold mines to adopt better ethical standards.
Gold is mined in diverse locations such as Alaska, Ghana, Peru and Romania. According to "No Dirty Gold," most raw material for gold jewelry is sourced from mining operations that violate human rights and pollute the environment. Target, and other companies who have signed the "Golden Rules," will only buy from gold sources that do not dump their mining wastes into local waterways, do not force local people off their native land and do not use forced labor. "No Dirty Gold" claims that the change in supply chain should not cause a change in consumer prices.
Target's commitment to ethically sourced gold is part of Target's larger sustainability efforts, which also include stocking sustainable seafood and working toward more sustainable packaging. On their sustainability website "Here For Good," Target claims they are committed to ethical sourcing of all their products. Target will not buy from vendors that engage in child labor, and urges their sources to provide workers a fair wage. On the Global 1000 list, which ranks companies based on corporate responsibility, Target ranked number 519 in 2009.
"No Dirty Gold" Moves On To a New Target
The "No Dirty Gold" campaign, run by the conservation group Earthworks, began championing ethical gold in 2004 and published the "Golden Rules Report" in 2007. More than 70 other retailers have signed the "No Dirty Gold" agreement, including Helzberg Diamonds, JC Penny, Tiffany and Co., and QVC. Now that Target has signed, Change.org has turned their attention on Costco. Change.org is a petitioning site that supports "No Dirty Gold," and at the time of this article, more than 25,000 people have signed the petition urging Costco to commit to ethically sourced gold.
Photo Credit: Elsie esq.