Our work with the mines does not start and end with our Fairtrade obligations. We choose to work with Fairtrade because it is a great system to help communities, but our relationships with our producers go much deeper.
THE FAIRTRADE PREMIUM: why we love Fairtrade
Fairtrade recognises the importance of a community wide approach to move toward real sustainable development. The miners earn a guaranteed fair price, at least 95% of the international market rate for the gold they mine (Cred pays 99% to the miners). An additional $2,000 for every kilo of Gold produced and sold as Fairtrade is paid as the Fairtrade Premium. This money goes into a community fund and a committee elected by the community decide how it should be spent.
Importantly the communities decide what matters most to them and what they need most urgently. This is a relationship of equals, they earn their success-we do not give handouts, patronise or lecture.
So far Cred has raised and paid $441,138 in Fairtrade Premiums alone.
Since 2011, when Cred produced the first commercially available Fairtrade Gold jewellery using gold sourced from artisanal miners in Peru, the Premium has helped transform communities. The SOTRAMI (Sociedad de Trabajadores Mineros- Mining Workers Society) and MACDESA (Minera Aurifera Cuatro de Enero-4th of January Gold Miners) local worker owned mining companies are both based in the Arequipa desert area in south western Peru. Most of the miners and their families live in the nearby villages of Cuatro Horas and Santa Filomena. Together they have benefited from the longest relationship with Cred and Fairtrade.
These isolated communities rely on the money produced from mining to provide almost all of their basic amenities including water, electricity, healthcare and education. Their Premiums have paid for teachers for the local schools and sporting facilities for the children and workers at both MACDESA and SOTRAMI. It has also been used to maintain a reliable source of safe clean water, which is bussed to the mines, as there is no local source of water.
SOTRAMI has also established a pre-school for 140 children and a dental facility at the local health centre. Electricity has been installed and they are about to complete a reservoir to guarantee their water supply.
A new kitchen at MACDESA to prepare food hygienically, and a phone mast allowing miners whose families who do not live on site to keep in touch, are some of the projects the Premium has supported at MACDESA.
Cred’s history of working with these communities goes back before we approached the Fairtrade Foundation to create the Fairtrade Gold Standard. We have been working with artisanal miners in South America since 1996, to produce known origin gold in the most ethical and sustainable way possible.
It can take years for a mine to gain Fairtrade accreditation and Cred works with them throughout the process, helping them access advice and training and providing access to the international markets to sell their gold.
Through fundraising efforts and community involvement we are able to give more support when and where it is needed. We raise money publicly and at industry events, for projects chosen by Cred and the miners to support those who need it most. Many of these projects make a point of supporting women and children. Here are some of them:
When SOTRAMI fell out of accreditation we continued our relationship with them, even installing an ultrasound scanner and providing advice until they have recently become eligible for auditing to become a Fairtrade business once again. For us this is about real relationships that produce tangible benefits for mining communities for the long term.
When the Cuatro Horas village at MACDESA burnt down almost completely in 2014, we raised $7,000 for 12 computers for the local school in the new village of Chappara, with an additional $1,400 raised for servicing and dustproofing these computers 3 years later.
Women in Peruvian mining communities work long hours sorting rubble from the mines, selling small amounts of gold they find to the miners. At MACDESA they wanted to set up a micro business making safety clothing for the miners. With the help of The Company of Master Jewellers, Cred raised and donated $24,000 to give the chance of increasing their income and take charge of their lives. An additional $1,800 provided a computer for the sewing machine workshop. We also raised $500 to send the school children from SOTRAMI on a school trip to the sea-a first for them!