RAPAPORT… Fair Jewellery Action (FJA) has launched as a human rights and environmental justice network serving the jewelry sector. FJA promotes ethical and fair trade jewelry businesses by advocating traceability and transparency in the jewelry supply chain. The new network’s objective is to direct more of the economic impact of the jewelry sector toward regenerating local economies in small-scale, artisanal communities and supporting cultural integrity and environmental sustainability.
Through its communications platform and standard setting activities, FJA will function as a driving force for consumers, making ethically and fairly traded jewelry the only moral choice. It will support jewelers by connecting them with the source of their material and enabling them to see the social, environmental and market advantage of providing ethical products.
According to Greg Valerio, one of the co-founders of the organization, “As a starting point, jeweler brands must not lose sight of the simple fact that traceability and transparency are the foundational bedrock upon which any ethical scheme must be judged. If you don’t know where your material comes from, you are morally compromised.”
In addition to supporting jewelers and brands that source in a traceable, transparent manner, FJA will provide the world’s first published and electronic ethical and jewelry manual and education materials to all jewelers and jewelry businesses. It will also provide lecture materials to jewelry students.
FJA will host campaigns to support the rights of indigenous people, communities and small-scale miners affected directly or indirectly by unjust situations involving mining. The network noted that it will be highly focused, supporting only those that it can impact by utilizing social media, its established network of suppliers, ethical jewelers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the press, as well as by conducting action campaigns on the ground.
FJA is currently supporting the rights of small-scale Inuit ruby miners to mine, own, transform and sell rubies from Greenland without prosecution or marginalization at the hands of the Denmark-run Bureau for Mines and Petroleum and neocolonial business interests.
Recognizing that small-scale mining strengthens communities and has the potential to redeem economies in the third world, FJA will also support mining projects enabling miners and their products to reach fair trade certification. The network explained that it will provide financial support, scoping studies and advice from qualified professionals; liaise with locals; offer practical help in launching the projects; and encourage public support through the provision of up-to-date information via the press.
FJA was launched in the U.K. and U.S. by fair trade jewelers and ethical jewelry advocates Valerio and Marc Choyt of Reflective Images in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the U.K. only, the FJA will operate within the charitable trust of The CRED Foundation.
About Greg Valerio
Valerio, a fair trade jewelry pioneer and ethical campaigner, is the founder of CRED Jewellery, the U.K. and Europe’s first jewelry company to retail fair trade and fully traceable gold and platinum jewelry collections. www.gregvalerio.com
He is a regular speaker, lecturer and writer on human rights and environmental issues present in the jewelry supply chain, with the intention of inspiring and delivering best practice across the industry.
Some of the highlights of his work with CRED have been the publication of the innovative reports “Toward an Ethical Jewellery Business” and “A Golden Opportunity” and the formation of a partnership with Oro Verde, a pioneering small-scale mining initiative for the rain forests of Colombia. Since visiting Oro Verde in 2004, he continues to advocate for their groundbreaking social and environmental certification program. Oro Verde support indigenous sustainable mining methods for gold and platinum that do not use cyanide or mercury, offering 100 percent transparency on gold.
In 2005, he cofounded the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), an international organization seeking to lobby for small-scale mining communities among indigenous people groups around the world and has developed, in partnership with the Fairtrade Labeling Organisation (FLO) and ARM, the world’s first fairtrade, fairmined standard for gold and associated precious metals. He currently serves on the ARM FLO standards committee.
About Marc Choyt
Choyt is the publisher of fairjewelry.org. Since its founding in 2007, fairjewelry.org has become the most comprehensive trade and consumer resource on ethical jewelry production. It is read by people from 130 countries a month and receives several hundred visitors a day.
Choyt publishes articles in newspapers and trade magazines. He is president of Reflective Images Inc., www.celticjewelry.com, a designer jewelry company located in Santa Fe that was established in 1995. Reflective Images converted its entire production, nationally and internationally, to recycled precious metal and is focusing on artisan sourcing and production. The company also developed the “F.R.E. Transparent Sourcing System” and two e-books on ethical sourcing issues: one for the consumer and one for the trade.
He is currently spearheading a Fair Trade Manufacturing Principles and Standards Committee which is documented on www.fairjewelry.org. At the JCK Show in 2010, Choyt was recognized by Jewelers That Care, a nonprofit organization, for his contributions in moving the ethical jewelry supply chain forward.
FJA is calling on jewelers and jewelry businesses to join them in engaging with vital social and environmental issues and striving to achieve transparency and traceability in the supply chain, from mine to retail.