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The past two weeks Earthworks and Change.org members have sent over 14,000 petitions to Macy's calling for them to sign the “Golden Rules”. Macy's remained silent.

This past week people concerned with Macy’s inaction to help curb irresponsible gold mining took over Macy’s Facebook page. Over 200 people flooded the Facebook page asking Macy’s to take a stand against irresponsible metal mining, join the over 80 other jewelry retailers, and sign the “Golden Rules”. For the first few days, Macy’s seemed to be ignoring people’s questions and concerns.

Today, Macy’s has posted a reply on its Facebook page. The response lays out precisely why we need Macy’s, as a major jewelry retailer, to sign on to the “Golden Rules”

Here’s the response that Macy’s posted on its Facebook page:

“At Macy's, we have policies and requirements that prohibit our suppliers from knowingly sourcing conflict minerals and gold. These requirements are in addition to our company's Vendor/Supplier Code of Conduct which we enforce via independent third party audits for our private brand merchandise. We have communicated our requirements and expectations to our market suppliers as well and will take appropriate action should a confirmed violation of our policies become known.

While we agree in spirit with the principles of No Dirty Gold, significant problems exist with gold and mineral traceability and verification and it is for this reason that we have yet to join any particular organization as none have thus far addressed those problems in a manner that provides a practical process or solution. This is true for the entire industry and not just for Macy's. We continue to work with the jewelry industry and with other groups and stakeholders seeking to address this issue in a manner that will allow us to be a participant in a meaningful way. -Kelly at Macy's”

My reply:

“Thanks for the reply, Kelly. I’m happy to hear Macy’s tells your suppliers not to source conflict minerals. However, as the rest of your statement reflects, there are major problems with traceability and verification. So actually, you don't know if you're sourcing — and your consumers are buying — dirty gold.  They could be, and they likely are.

The Golden Rules are a commitment by jewelry companies — the #1 consumer of gold — to gain that certainty by working to pressure the mining industry to change their supply chain.

Eight of the top ten jewelers in the U.S. have acknowledged their responsibility to address this problem.  Macy's is one of two that has not.

You admit in your own statement that the question is traceability and verification.  The answer is to work within the Golden Rules.  Please do your company, your customers and mining-impacted communities around the world a favor.  Sign the Golden Rules.”

As you can see we agree! Significant problems do exist on gold and mineral traceability and without retailers like Macy's demanding to know where their products are coming from this will not change. This is our point, precisely!

It is encouraging that Macy's prohibits suppliers “from knowingly sourcing conflict minerals”. While this a first step in helping curb minerals that finance and cause conflict, a policy on the prohibition of conflict minerals alone is far from comprehensive.

Furthermore, the idea that Macy’s policy prohibits suppliers “knowingly sourcing conflict minerals” is deeply undermined by what Macy’s points out as “problems in traceability and verification”. In addition to conflict minerals, Macy’s could well be selling minerals mined at the cost of human rights, environmental destruction, and unfair labor practices. These problems need to be fixed, not swept under the rug.

Jewelry is the #1 consumer of gold. The jewelry industry bears a huge responsibility to help end irresponsible gold mining; the #1 responsibility you might say. This is why 80 major retailers have signed on to the “Golden Rules”, to fix these systemic problems. People want to know where their gold comes from and retailers have the responsibility to tell them.

Unfortunately Macy's continues to pass the buck.

It’s not to late for Macy’s to do the right thing. Macy’s can be an important ally in the fight to end irresponsible gold and metal sourcing. It’s time for Macy’s to take the intention written in their policies and put them into practice. It’s time for Macy’s to join over 80 other jewelry retailers and sign the “Golden Rules”.