We have previously mentioned Chopard’s commitment to Fairmined® gold (they call it their “Journey to Sustainable Luxury”); since 2018 they have achieved a 100% ethical gold supply chain for watches and jewellery. Now, they have announced a partnership with the Swiss Better Gold Association (you can see a list of SBGA members, which includes some major watch names, here) on a project to source gold from Colombian artisanal miners
This new initiative sees the brand sourcing gold from the Barequeros in El Chocó, Colombia, the country’s second largest gold producing region but also one of its poorest. Gold mining is a critical part of the area; the miners use local traditional techniques with hand equipment such as sluices and panning. They do not use mercury, so as to protect both themselves and the flora and fauna. To become a registered gold miner, they are required to apply for a permit that allows them to produce manually and sell up 420g of gold per annum.
The Barequeros will now supply gold as part of a fully traceable and responsible international supply chain. This is part of a broader program supported by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the SBGA to foster and support small-scale gold miners. It ensures that the Barequeros receive a competitive price but also includes what is called a SBGA Better Gold Incentive of 0.70 USD per gram. It also lets them know the exact destination of their gold. To date, five hundred Barequeros have received support from this initiative.
Of the initiative, Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and Artistic Director says: “Sustainability is a moving target, it’s a journey which never ends. And today, more than ever, it has to be our priority to protect the people on the ground who make our business possible. I am honoured to have been able to partner with the SBGA on this extraordinary project and I look forward to seeing it grow over the years”.
The Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) is a non-profit organisation of industry, finance and other service providers that supports the creation of sustainable and responsible gold supply chains in small-scale gold mining.
Earlier this month the SBGA reported that they provided food parcels to Bolivian gold miners as a part of COVID-19 emergency relief. You can read more about that here.