“Dirty gold” isn’t exactly blood diamonds, but it’s became the next cause celebre in the transparently sustainable production of jewelry. Groups behind “No Dirty Gold” say that gold mining is one of the world’s most environmentally destructive industries, producing about 40 percent of America’s toxic waste including aresenic, lead and mercury.
The group’s Golden Rules pact—also subscribed to by Zales, Walmart, QVC and other brands—includes a promise to study metals supply chains, improve supplier sourcing criteria, increase recycled-gold content and seek more responsibly produced metals, according to Marketing Daily.[more]
Specifically, for instance, gold mining has had “destructive impacts” in Peru, where Newmont’s Conga mine “has provoked immense social unrest and protests” over a purported threat to the limited water supply, according to TriplePundit, and in New Guinea where water contamination from mining has reduced the local fish population by up to 80 percent.
Also, green critics say that if the proposed Pebble Mine is developed in Bristol Bay, Alaska, it would destroy miles of streams that are home to the world’s largest sockey-salmon population. One major mining company, Anglo American, pulled out of Pebble Mine last year and left about a half-billion dollars in the lurch in doing so, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
But do retailers really have any choice but to go along with a cause like “No Dirty Gold”? “There may not be an immediate reward,” Geoff Beattie, a corporate-affairs consultant at Cohn & Wolfe, told Marketing Daily. “But companies who are ahead of the game will benefit financially and will have a better reputation.”