Jewellery house working with Eurocantera to supply ethical gold.
Cartier has announced a collaboration with Italian gold mining company Goldlake Group – owner of Eurocantera mine in Honduras – to supply ethical gold jewellery for use in the brand’s collections.
The plans were announced at Basel during a Responsible Jeweller Council (RJC) press conference addressing plans for 2011. Nawal Aït-Hocine, coporate responsibility director at Cartier International, spoke at the meeting, noting that discussions had been taking place since last year and are still in the finalisation stages.
Aït-Hocine said: "Cartier uses only a fraction of the gold and diamonds used in jewellery design across the world and our approach to sourcing materials is corporate. We are a brand people know and trust so we’re taking a systematic approach to rolling out ethical policies and we believe that we will be able to enhance consumer experience."
Cartier has signed a three year contract with Eurocantera and have promised to buy 50 percent of any excess gold taken from the Honduran mine. Cartier will help Eurocantera get started, to allow it to form its own buying base in the future.
Supply chain issues of both metal and gemstones were also addressed by Aït-Hocine, who said Cartier is taking action now to meet demand from a modern market.
"We have chosen to work with Gold Lake because they address both the social and environmental issues of gold mining, and together we’re looking at our partnership as a business model, not an aid model. We want to ensure people know this distinction. We will be giving the mines the chance to expand, while being innovative, hands on and respectful", said Aït-Hocine, adding: "Cartier and Goldlake shared many of the same ethics and this is why we were drawn to the company."
Goldlake owns the Eurocantera mine in Honduras, and will be working with Cartier to ensure that at every stage of the mining process there is positive impact locally. Eurocantera is said to be the only mine where the Cartier partnership will work successfully; they have an already estalbished chain and have complete control over the process.
The Eurocantera mine is cyanide-free, working with local artisanal mines who hand pan for gold using traditional techniques. They also have a water recycling process, with waste water used as irrigation for the local community.
Speakers at the meeting also included Stephen Webster, Gemma Cartwright of the Fairtrade Foundation, Ryan Taylor of Canada’s Fair Trade Jewellery Company and Rio Tinto’s John Hall.