Valentine's Day sweethearts urged to buy ethical jewellery
More than 100 jewellery retailers, from high street to high end, are endorsing ethical purchasing of jewellery on Valentine's Day by committing to more responsible sourcing of precious metals.
Last week, 104 retailers signed up to the No Dirty Gold campaign, set up by NGO Earthworks, to drive socially and environmentally responsible jewellery into the market.
The group, which include Argos, Beaverbrooks, Tiffany's and Boucheron, have declared their support for the 'Golden Rules', which set out guidelines to encourage firms to pursue "cleaner" sourcing of gold and other metals.
Commenting on its pledge, Boucheron president and CEO Jean-Christophe Bédos said: "Given our desire for transparency and responsibility in sourcing our materials, it was only natural for our company to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign.
"Although we do not source our raw materials directly from mines, we do care about the respectability of the whole supply chain in our industry," added Bédos.
According to Earthworks, the Golden Rules are based on broadly accepted international human rights laws and basic principles of sustainable development, including respect for workers' rights and protection of ecologically sensitive areas.
This year in the UK, it is estimated that £986m will be spent on traditional Valentine's gifts such as lingerie, chocolate, flowers and jewellery. Of this, 47.3% is estimated to be spent on jewellery, according to gift site notonthehighstreet.com.
In the US, Valentine's Day is one of the largest jewellery purchasing holidays of the year with nearly 20% of gift givers buying jewellery, according to National Jeweler.
Highlighting the impact of mining, Earthworks claims that a single gold ring "leaves in its wake, on average, 20 tons of mine waste".
It also says that metal mining was the number one toxic polluter in the US in 2012, responsible for 40% of all reported toxic releases.