LONDON, June 2011 - Fairtrade gold, which pays a fair price to poor miners, is in tight supply but efforts are under way to locate new origins in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and to licence more jewellers.
Leading British jewellers launched certified "Fairtrade" gold in February, in a bid to boost livelihoods of artisanal miners working in perilous conditions in developing countries and ensure ethical standards and traceability.
Victoria Waugh, business development manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said new supplies of Fairtrade gold, which now come from a few South American origins, were expected to be approved from other Latin American origins and Africa and Asia.
"The amount of (Fairtrade) gold available in the market is quite low at the moment," Waugh said in an interview on June 10 on the sidelines of the "Essence" ethical jewellery show during London Jewellery Week.
"We're seeing the availability in gold increase steadily," she added.
"As the supply increases, we'll start to bring more and more jewellers into the system to work with them."
Currently 27 jewellery brands in the UK are licenced to use Fairtrade gold, including retailer Cred, and designers Ute Decker and Linnie McLarty, who joined the Essence selling event.
Fairtrade gold jewellery is currently sold in the UK and Canada.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation and the Alliance for Responsible Mining, "Fairtrade" gold is forecast to account for 5 percent of the global market in the next 15 years as the initiative is rolled out internationally.
"Fairtrade" gold pays a fair price to artisanal miners, who represent 90 percent of the gold mining labour force.
Many artisanal miners currently receive only a fraction of the market price of gold.
London Jewellery Week, which showcased the talents of UK designer-jewellers, ran from June 6-12.