An investigation in the Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times showed that Walmart’s “Love, Earth” jewelry line comes at the cost of workers’ rights, health, and safety, and at the cost of communities and the environment around the mines. The jewelry line claims to be from responsible sources but is made under oppressive labor conditions and with gold and silver from polluting mines in Nevada and Utah.
The Western Shoshone Defense Project and Great Basin Resource Watch joined EARTHWORKS in sending a letter to Walmart. The letter calls on Walmart to drop the Love, Earth label until the jewelry line has independent, third party verification that it complies with the Golden Rules for responsible sourcing, and has properly consulted with affected communities and civil society about responsible sourcing.
Cultural Survival’s Global Response is also calling on the company to take Love, Earth products off the market until they have consent from the Western Shoshone and Great Basin Resource Watch on how to proceed.
Incidentally, the grave concerns with Love, Earth are not the only problems Walmart has had with its jewelry in the last two years. Investigations found that Walmart children’s jewelry had high levels of cadmium (toxic) and lead in 2009 and 2010. In at least one of those cases, Walmart did the right thing and pulled those items from its shelves. I hope that Walmart will do the right thing now also and pull the Love, Earth line. I also hope that this new investigation and renewed concerns will cause Walmart to raise its standards and push companies like Aurafin, Newmont, and Rio Tinto to clean up their operations and respect the rights of workers and Indigenous Peoples.
For more on the investigation, see my previous Walmart EARTHblog post.