Fairtrade Q&A: Victoria Waugh

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Fairtrade Foundation business development manager on plans for 2013.

Professional Jeweller’s March 2013 issue takes an in-depth look at the development of Fairtrade Fairmined gold in the UK, from client demand through to supply chain issues, pricing and marketing.Fairtrade Foundation business development manager Victoria Waugh tells us about raising awareness, feedback from jewellery retailers and the launch of Fairtrade silver and platinum.

Professional Jeweller: Since the Fairtrade Fairmined gold mark was launched two years ago, how has demand and use of the gold evolved in the UK jewellery market?
Victoria Waugh: We launched with just 20 licensees and now work with 50, so demand for the category has definitely grown. In December 2012 the first platinum products came to market and just recently the first silver products were announced. Both platinum and silver are by-products of Fairtrade gold, so will only be available in small quantities, but help grow the market nonetheless.

PJ: How successful have the Fairtrade campaigns to raise awareness about Fairmined and Ecological gold been in the UK?
VW: We recently carried out several digital campaign that helped generate very positive responses from the public and resulted in an increase in product sales. The licensees and campaigners have also done some great promotional work. For example, Chichester Cathedral covered its weather vane in Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, and certified gold was used in a brooch given to the Queen to celebrate her Jubilee [designed by Ivonna Poplanska for a competition run by the British Jewellers’ Association].

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PJ: What is the feedback on Fairtrade gold you are receiving from retailers, designers and manufacturers working with the metal?
VW: They love the concept, however we need to work on the model to ensure that it works for them in terms of cost. We are currently carrying out a review of the standards. The second round of consultation will take place in March.

PJ: What are your plans to market Fairtrade metals in 2013?
VW: We recently ran an online Valentine’s promotion encouraging consumers to choose Fairtrade for their loved one. We also had our annual marketing campaign Fairtrade Fortnight, which started on the 23rd of February and encouraged jewellers and consumers to go further for Fairtrade by buying certified metal.

PJ: Fairtrade silver is now available to the UK market through Cred. Have you been working with them at all on this initiative, and what do you think Fairtrade silver can offer the UK industry?
VW: Silver is a by-product of gold, and when we launched the gold standard, silver was part of this. We work very closely with Cred and aim to support them with raising awareness where possible. Volumes of sliver will never be huge, but we hope it will help broaden out the market opportunities for miners at a more affordable level.

PJ: Do you have any statistics or figures on the development and demand of Fairtrade Fairmined gold in the UK market?
VW: Not currently, but we aim to do a survey to gauge market awareness after Fairtrade Fortnight.

PJ: A number of designers have spoken of the limitations of working with the metal, for example adding in non-Fairtrade findings can mean an item made with Fairtrade Fairmined gold loses that label, therefore often making rings the only possible design. What are your thoughts on this?
VW: The system allows most designs to be certified, not just rings. We have certified pendants, charms, cufflinks and earrings.

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