Chopard jewelry and watches leading the way to a more ethical world?
Company says to reach their goal of only working with 100% fairmined gold by July 2018
Chopard announced to work with 100% fairmined gold by July 2018! During a press conference, lead by the Green Carpet Challenge’s founder Livia Firth, they announced with great pride their achievements in creating a better world for those who work at the bottom of the supply chain. A wonderful initiative! Now it’s up to the customer to demand more fairmined gold and together with the leading brands, we can make a difference.
From the outside, the world of jewelry is full glitter and glamour. Literally. Even for those working in the industry, going to a show like BaselWorld, is all about a sparkling appearance with gorgeous, but intimidating booths and even getting a glimpse here and there of a very famous celebrity.
A selfie, I hardly ever do it, but I had promised my girlfriends ;-)
Bottom of the gold mining chain is ugly
Yet, there is a downside to this business that has become more and more apparent. We know more, we care more, we can’t ignore any longer, even if we should wish to, that at the bottom of the chain, this industry is kind of ugly.
The local people and natural resources are both often abused. Miners are not paid well, and have been taken advantage of - a euphemism- so to speak. When I asked around, most companies would immediately state that the diamonds they sell are conflict-free. No blood diamonds. You and I can’t tell the difference and we have to trust the jeweler and the industry enough to believe them. But jewelry isn’t made of just diamonds. Other gemstones are just as ‘controversial’ and so is the mining of gold and silver.
Abuse of people and resources are often at the bottom of any industry
We all cherish our cellphones, but haven’t we come across articles about child labor in East Congo? Doing the unsafe work of digging for the minerals needed to create our treasured communication devices? It seems that at the bottom of everything we consume, there is a harsh reality. From meat to diamond jewelry, from your clothing to your golden watch. From milk and medicine to cosmetics. Animal cruelty, abusive use of natural resources, modern slaves, child labor and what not...are so often where it all starts.
Consumers, raise your voice!
And this is no different for our beloved watches and jewelry. As consumers, you do have a voice! When people care more and appreciate brands that genuinely make an effort, your voice will be heard. And I would like to point out that the aforementioned issues are known and are being taken ever more serious by the industry itself.
There are organizations such as the Responsible Jewellery Council (link) where you will find all brands stepping up to increasingly grow in their efforts to become more
and more ethical and sustainable throughout the whole chain.
Small companies created a movement, big ones need to take it a step further
There are many small brands that have taken serious steps in sourcing for fairtrade and fairmined gold and a big name in the industry (but surely not in consumers minds) is Gemfields, a world-leading supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones. But we always need a few famous names, big names, beloved brands to step up and show their intentions of creating a better world.
The Press Conference of Chopard at BaselWorld 2018
I attended the Chopard Press congress at the BaselWorld show, where Livia Firth, founder of The Green Carpet Challenge® (GCC) a world-renowned sustainability initiative that creates a compelling and press-worthy narrative to amplify a brand's environmental principles and wife of the famous actor Colin Firth, hosted the event.
Livia comes across as passionate, a little dominant and outspoken. She enthusiastically spoke immediately about her two heroes, Caroline Scheufele and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the two co-presidents and brother and sister, who inherited the Chopard company from their parents Karl and Karin ( they bought the company from Paul André Chopard) and have run the business since the 1980’s. She didn’t introduce the other people coming on stage, which seemed a little impolite, but maybe that is just me. The famous actress Julianne Moore and Livia’s own husband; actor Colin Firth. Two known models and activists Arizona Muse and Noella Coursaris and Chinese singer Roy Wang also attended the press conference. Each of them stating later, why they loved the brand and why it mattered to them personally that Chopard was now committing to 100% ethical gold.
The Big News
The big announcement of this press conference was that by July 2018 Chopard will use 100% responsibly sourced gold in all jewelry and watches and measure impact against UN Global Goals for sustainable development. A measured and constantly monitored path to reach this has started already years ago. It’s a huge operation to really do this right, but Chopard has chosen not to ‘’just’’ buy fairmined gold or recycled gold, but to work with the miners directly in two different routes:
Artisanal freshly mined gold from small-scale mines participating in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), Fairmined and Fairtrade schemes. Artisanal gold” includes gold sourced from Artisanal and Small-scale Mines (ASM). These mines are typically characterized by their informal nature, requiring little specialist technology, knowledge or skill. In order to change this stereotyped image, Chopard has worked with a number of ASM mines to achieve Fairmined certification.
RJC Chain of Custody gold, through Chopard’s partnership with RJC-certified refineries. RJC Chain of Custody gold is sourced through Chopard’s partnership with refineries which guarantee the gold is produced directly by traceable Chain of Custody certified entities.
Create demand, you cán change the world too!
I know, Chopard is leading now a path to a better world, but not all consumers can afford jewelry or watches by the famous Swiss jewelry house. We all hope that by you, the public will make it a point to ask your jeweler more about the origin of the jewelry you choose. Perhaps, at this point, it isn’t fair yet to judge a collection that is not made out of fairtrade or fairmined gold... yet. But one thing is certain: demand creates a market. And with that, we all have the power to make a change.