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Impact of fair trade gold

In addition to the fair trade premium - the development premium that will be applied once the first mining communities have been certified, and which is intended to be used to improve the living conditions of small farmers, their families and their communities - thanks to fair trade and its shorter supply chain, miners’ organizations can obtain a better price for their gold, strengthening and making their communities more economically viable.

Fair trade gold, a source for of economic, social and environmental development

 Fair trade is a genuine business model, which allows these gold producers to reach commodity export markets under fairer conditions, to strengthen their position both domestically and within the international precious metals trade, to obtain better access to financial services, to participate in programs to improve their productive capacity and, generally speaking, to have more control over their own lives. The absence of any intermediaries within the fair trade system enables gold producers to acquire exporter status in their country, with all the tax benefits that may convey.

In addition, the application of fair trade gold principles helps reduce poverty and improve these mining communities’ living conditions. Organized, properly ordered, democratized and educated, these communities can now achieve true social progress, while preserving their ecosystem.

From an environmental standpoint, participating in a fair trade gold process helps reduce the harmful impacts of artisanal mining. The mines must set in place an environmental plan specifying the areas in which action must be taken, the objectives desired and the deadlines set by the community to reduce its environmental impacts. Only the least toxic chemicals are to be used. Within the context of a fair trade gold approach, producers are encouraged to reduce mercury emissions by increasing the use of cyanide, a chemical process that takes longer but which offers a much higher productivity (read here).

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Finally, fair trade is helping to change and improve professionals' and consumers' perception of small producers. Thanks to the application of responsible practices, mineral producers - who are often associated with illegal workers or polluters - gain true recognition, thereby limiting their marginalization within the global mining industry.

Patrick Schein

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