Today, activists from the No Dirty Gold campaign left Macy’s a message at its downtown Washington D.C. storefront. The activists decorated the Macy’s front entrance with a giant balloon banner reading: “Macy’s, Don’t Break our Hearts. Dump Dirty Gold!” – referring to Macy’s failure to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign’s “Golden Rules” for responsible metals’ sourcing.
The activists showed up at Macy’s the day before Valentine’s Day to let shoppers know that Macy’s has thus far taken no action to help rid the jewelry industry of dirty gold: gold that may have been produced at the cost of human rights abuses, labor violations, and environmental destruction, among others.
Valentine’s Day is one of Macy’s busiest shopping seasons in the year, with the jewelry departments full of shoppers looking to buy gold jewelry for their special someone. Some of these prospective shoppers in Washington DC were greeted today by the large banner, held by over 3 dozen helium balloons, floating over the store’s main entrance informing shoppers about Macy’s dirty secret.
Few people who are going to Macy’s to buy a gift for their loved one have any idea that Macy’s is one of the few major jewelry retailers to refuse to take action to get dirty gold out of its display cases. The gold earrings and rings being bought at Macy’s for Valentine’s day may have been mined with children’s hands, it may have cost a community its clean water, or it might have destroyed protected ecosystems. Those are things no one wants their love associated with. The cost of dirty gold is high, but Macy’s continues doing what is easy rather then doing what is right. Macy’s customers deserve better. They deserve to know that the retail store they are shopping in is taking the necessary steps to clean up the gold industry.
Macy’s is the 5th largest retailer of jewelry in the United States. Last year, Macy’s made over $1.5 billion in jewelry and watch sales. Unfortunately, there is no telling how much of that $1.5 billion comes from dirty gold. Perhaps all of it does; but Macy’s can’t tell you otherwise. That’s just not acceptable. That is why we need Macy’s to step it up. $1.5 billion is a lot of purchasing power, and it’s time for Macy’s to put that power towards cleaning up its gold supply chain.
This Valentine’s Day, it’s time for Macy’s to join dozens of other jewelry giants in committing to the Golden Rules. Until then, Macy’s will not only be breaking our hearts, they may be destroying the lives of communities struggling with dirty gold.