BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 08 August '16

Argos launches Fairtrade gold wedding rings in stores nationwide

High street retailer Argos has launched four new styles of wedding band, starting at £99.99, made from Fairtrade gold mined in Peru. A number of additional styles are available online only, and can be delivered within five working days.

‘We are very proud to be adding a number of new ring styles made from Fairtrade gold to our existing collections. We hope they add extra sparkle to our couples’ big day and contribute towards building stronger mining communities in Peru, thanks to Fairtrade certification.’

STEPHANIE WILKES
Argos Fine Jewellery Buyer

Each Fairtrade Wedding Ring is imprinted with the unique Fairtrade Gold Stamp so that couples know that the miners were paid a fair price for the gold, plus an extra amount of money in the form of the Fairtrade Premium, to invest in building their future.

The launch comes at the height of 2016 wedding season, giving British couples an opportunity to pick bands with a beautiful story of provenance and integrity.

‘Congratulations to Argos for setting such an important precedent in the jewellery industry. As one of the biggest high street retailers of jewellery, this move shows that Fairtrade gold really can be mainstream.

‘By selling affordable, responsibly sourced wedding bands to customers nationwide, Argos is offering more choice plus the assurance that the gold is ‘clean,’ free from child labour, pollution and exploitation. We hope other companies will follow Argos’ lead.’

EUAN VENTERS
Fairtrade Foundation’s commercial director

Mined in Peru

The Fairtrade gold in the rings comes from SOTRAMI gold mine, located in the Atacama desert in Peru, 70 miles from the nearest town. The artisanal small-scale mining community consists of 500 families and had little access to amenities such as shops and healthcare before selling on Fairtrade terms.

Since becoming certified, the miners have helped improve the lives of the town’s inhabitants by investing the Fairtrade Premium in a primary school and dentistry and a not-for-profit grocery store in the community so people can buy food at affordable prices. In the future they plan to help improve healthcare, waste management, electricity and water supplies for the town’s inhabitants.

Mining risks

Artisanal small-scale mining is driven by poverty and draws people who have no other option. When unregulated, the conditions faced by miners can be dangerous and polluting.

Miners are often exploited by middle men and don’t receive a fair price for their gold. It is estimated that tens of thousands of children are employed in the sector.

Mercury and cyanide are used to extract gold from hard rock, so unskilled handling of these toxic chemicals poses severe risks to miners’ health, as well as that of their communities and the natural environment.

Click here to view Argos’ Fair-trade wedding rings online.