A recently published investigative report by Peruvian investigative news site OjoPúblico traced some of the dirtiest gold — illegally extracted, mercury processed gold from the Amazon — to large American and European companies — including two certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council, a controversial, industry-exclusive gold and diamonds certification system.
Earthworks is part of a multistakeholder group working to develop the world's first certification system for more responsible mining. Today, the group releases the first draft of the standards for public comment. Here's a message from the committee about these groundbreaking standards.
Trade unions and environmental groups team up to expose deep flaws in jewelry certification system
Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Geneva, Sydney, May 22, 2013 – In a new report, More Shine Than Substance: How RJC certification fails to create responsible jewelry, an international coalition of labor and environmental groups indict the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)’s certification system as misleading jewelry consumers. The RJC holds its annual meeting in Milan on May 23.
“Jewelry is meant to lift our spirits. But it loses its value if it’s made with gold or diamonds that are tarnished by human rights abuses or environmental destruction,” said Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold campaign director Payal Sampat. She continued, “Unfortunately, RJC’s certification cannot reassure consumers that the gems and precious metals that pass through its system did not come at the cost of community health or clean water.”
The groups releasing More Shine Than Substance include the trade union federation, IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers globally, CFMEU Australia, United Steelworkers, and environmental advocacy groups Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada.
The formation of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) illustrates much that’s wrong with today’s fracking debate.
By attempting to address the need for stronger standards, the effort validates claims that existing state oversight of oil and gas extraction is inadequate to protect impacted communities.
But CSSD also validates local communities’ mistrust of fracking supporters by excluding drilling-impacted communities from the CSSD formation and decision-making structure. The CSSD has publicly launched a plan to certify drilling, but has not publicly disclosed its verification process.
EARTHWORKS and eight other nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to the mining and jewelry industry trade association, the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), outlining serious concerns with the RJC's mining standards and process. Among the criticisms from the NGOs are the absence of key environmental and social criteria, such as community consent, no-go areas for biodiversity conservation, and protection of natural water bodies from tailings disposal.