Green Gold™ Going Global

Feb. 8, 2007

Colombian sustainable development group Oro Verde is seeing growing acceptance around the world of its Green Gold™ certificate for sustainably produced artisan gold.

Jewelers in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are among the first to create products using gold produced by Afro-Colombian miners working with Oro Verde in the municipalities of Condoto and Tadó in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot.

“We’re very pleased with the reaction from the public so far,” said Christian Cheesman of the UK’s Cred Jewellery. “We’re producing about 20 pieces per month using Oro Verde’s gold and we hope to start supplying the wholesale market soon.”

Inspired by the success of fair-trade tea and coffee, Oro Verde worked with local people in 12 sites to develop a set of environmental and social criteria for small-scale gold mining. With the higher price miners receive from Oro Verde for sustainably produced gold, they are working to restore degraded areas and establish conservation zones within community territories.

Almost 200 Afro-Colombian mining families have signed up under the initiative to date.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund supported Oro Verde’s work as part of its strategic direction of identifying and promoting sustainable development practices in communities near selected protected areas in the hotspot.

In addition, the Milieukeur Foundation, an independent Dutch organization that provides certification for environmentally sound or sustainable products and services, also recently launched a national certificate in Holland using Oro Verde’s criteria.

“We hope to extend it to cover commercially mined gold from other sustainable sources, as well as other precious metals and gems in the future,” said Ineke Vlot, Milieukeur’s manager for non-food products.

Internationally, the Association of Responsible Mining, an independent, multi-national initiative based in Colombia, is also using Oro Verde’s experiences to develop a framework for responsible small-scale mining that can be applied in other regions of the world.