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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24 — Target, the third-largest retail chain in the U.S., has joined 72 other jewelry retailers worldwide in pledging to shun gold from irresponsible mining and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) becomes the 73rd signer of the Golden Rules, a set of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of precious metals from the No Dirty Gold campaign. Target ranks No. 10 among U.S. jewelry retailers with 2009 sales of about $450 million. The Golden Rules have now been signed by eight of the top 10 jewelry sellers in the country, with combined annual sales of more than $13.5 billion, about a quarter of the total U.S. jewelry market.

“Target is proud to be part of the No Dirty Gold campaign,” said Tim Mantel, president, Target Sourcing Services. “Our approach to sourcing products throughout the world is grounded in our heritage of strong business ethics.”

EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform organization that spearheads the No Dirty Gold campaign, said Target’s pledge boosts the worldwide movement of jewelers — from luxury brands such as Tiffany and Cartier to retail chains such as Sears/Kmart and JCPenney — who realize that their customers are concerned about the devastating effect of gold mining on communities and the environment.

“Target’s commitment brings us one step closer to the day when gold and other precious metals are no longer tarnished by environmental harm or human rights abuses,” said Payal Sampat, international campaign director at EARTHWORKS. “The No Dirty Gold campaign applauds Target for this important decision.”

The production of one gold ring generates an average of 20 tons of mine waste. Gold mining has been linked to human rights violations, forest destruction, toxic pollution, and loss of lands and livelihoods. (For more information, see www.nodirtygold.org or www.facebook.com/nodirtygold)

Target’s endorsement of the Golden Rules comes at a time when there is movement towards improved tracing and certification mechanisms for mined products. Discussions are advancing on third party certification of more responsible mining practices through the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). The Golden Rules signatories have committed to seeking third party certification of responsible sourcing when it becomes available. And the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is developing final rules on tracking and disclosure of conflict gold content in electronics products and jewelry, given the link between gold and violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Consumer support for more ethically sourced products is also growing. More than 100,000 individuals have signed on to the No Dirty Gold consumer pledge. Thousands of these No Dirty Gold members, and over 20,000 members of change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change, have called on retailers and mining companies to provide alternatives to dirty gold.

Leading U.S. Jewelry Retailers


U.S. jewelry & watch sales, 2009


$2.750 billion

Sterling Jewelers Inc.

$2.557 billion


$1.780 billion


Macy’s Inc.

$1.400 billion

Tiffany & Co.

$1.338 billion


$1.180 billion

Sears Holdings (includes Kmart)

$840 million

J.C. Penney

$700 million


Costco Wholesale Corp.

$475 million


$450 million

” Golden Rules signatory
Source: National Jeweler, “State of the Majors” May 16, 2010.

EARTHWORKS’ No Dirty Gold campaign persuades gold (and other metal) consumers to encourage mining companies to adopt responsible mining practices.

Twitter: earthworksrocks
Facebook: earthworksaction | nodirtygold


  • Payal Sampat, EARTHWORKS: (510) 488-4668
  • Scott Cardiff, EARTHWORKS: (202) 887-1872 x202
  • Bill Walker, EARTHWORKS: (510) 759-9911

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