Catching up with SEED Award winners and finalists: Oro Verde
The 'green' gold of 2009 SEED Award winner Oro Verde has garnered international press coverage and is currently in the process of acquiring the Fairtrade and Fairmined labels. The Colombian initiative Oro Verde are now working with designers and distributors across the world, aiming to capture five per cent of the fair gold jewellery market over the next 15 years. The label will be launched first in Britain, but already gold extracted with Oro Verde's environmentally-friendly methods has reached eleven different countries.
Large-scale gold mining can be highly destructive. Miners often use unethical labour and can damage natural environments through their use of aggressive excavation techniques and substances such as mercury. So drastic was the environmental damage caused by the Zaragoza mine (near Buenaventura), a state of emergency has been declared in the region.
Oro Verde, however, uses traditional panning techniques that are respectful towards the local environment. The profits made from the green gold are used to fund community development. It was this combination of environmentally-friendly and socially conscious attitudes that won Oro Verde a SEED Award in 2009 and has attracted almost two hundred rural Colombian families to the programme.
Since receiving support from the SEED Initative, Oro Verde has enjoyed a high profile with international media coverage and is now working with Fairtrade jewellers all over the world.
* To Note: with regard to the Fair-trade and Fair-minded certification, Oro Verde was still in the process of acquiring those two labels at the time the SEED newsletter Issue 5 was published, rather than having already received it.