Impacts of COVID-19 on ASM

Impacts of COVID-19 on ASM

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant detrimental impacts on the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector worldwide. It has caused supply chain disruptions that have impacted large – and small-scale mineral sectors alike, and has resulted in a drop in both production and income for huge numbers of artisanal miners, many of whom do not have the capital to be resilient against such shocks.

Against this backdrop, and knowing the importance of reliable data for understanding the challenges that faced artisanal miners, Levin Sources participated in a study looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). As part of the World Bank-funded Delve Impact Reporting Initiative, we conducted interviews from May – July 2020 with both artisanal miners and key sector stakeholders in the DRC, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe. With a focus on gold and construction minerals, data was collected from miners every two weeks over a ten-week period, in order to understand how the impacts of the pandemic were changing for miners over time. Approximately thirty to forty mine site respondents were interviewed by telephone in each country, using a remote survey designed by Delve. Data was collected on a number of key topics, including health and safety (related to COVID-19), gender issues, physical security, food security, government support and engagement and how miner’s production, markets and supply chains were impacted by the pandemic and related restrictions.

Our key findings have been documented in a series of blogs, showcasing our results in each country, as well as a special edition on the gendered impacts of COVID – how the pandemic has impacted women artisanal miners in particular.

View the blogs created by Levin Sources staff and our in country associates.

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/asm-covid-19-government-response

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/impacts-covid-19-asm-mozambique

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/covid-19-impacts-artisanal-gold-mining-zimbabwe

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/covid-19-communaut%C3%A9s-mineurs-artisanaux-rdc

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/impacts-covid-19-women-asm

https://www.levinsources.com/knowledge-centre/insights/covid-19-impacts-asm-uganda-policy-recommendations

Jane Barnett, December 2020

Building an Ethical Jewellery Industry

Our first guest author is Kassandra Lauren Gordon, jeweller, poet and activist.

The Fair Luxury website states: “Each of us is at a different place on our journey to responsible business, but we are working on it. No matter how small, collectively our actions will transform our industry for the better.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I have always seen myself as an ethical jeweller and have tried my best to live up to that in my jewellery practice by giving clients the option to buy ethical materials. I have used fair trade gold, recycled gold, recycled silver and buy the most ethical gemstones I can find as much as possible.

But ultimately I can’t offer ethically sourced materials that I can’t find or that are too expensive for my customers. And if these materials are going to be more than branding for me they have to be as ethically sourced as they are claimed to be or we can’t rely on the effects of using ethical suppliers to materialise. However, I have no realistic way of verifying the claims to ‘ethicalness’ that a supplier makes, so I must take it on trust.

It’s just not possible to be ‘ethical’ in the sense of what we want this word to mean without the industry, or at least part of it, also being as ethical as we want to be.

I think one of the best vehicles for spreading the impact of the use of ethical supplies is combining our buying power and signposting to others which suppliers we believe are providing the best quality and ethically reliable supplies. As our influence grows and consumer tastes become more ethical, more suppliers would have the incentive to also start selling ethical supplies.

I am very inspired by the changes we’ve seen in the food industry. It was not long ago that to be vegetarian almost meant to not be able to eat at all if you were out. Perhaps there would be one token vegetarian option on the menu. But the industry has responded very robustly to the change in consumer tastes. Now some vegetarian substitutes are indistinguishable from traditional recipes because of the work that has been done on recipes and ingredients. Today, diners of a variety of diets have real options.

If we can build a network or a directory of ethical product and service providers, this could be a very good step in the direction of us being able to be the ethical jewellers we want to be ourselves and then expanding that impact through the industry.

To truly be ethical jewellers we must see our values manifested in the work of others.

Kassandra Lauren Gordon
September 2020

Fashion Gets Active!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1523290770768{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”568″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1599068151080{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column_text el_class=”caption” css=”.vc_custom_1599067770933{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”]Gold Spiral Earrings   Ute Decker[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Those of us with long standing commitment to ethical sourcing have been working towards creating greater public awareness of the somewhat murkier challenges faced by the jewellery industry for some time now. It is often a difficult message to convey to an audience previously unaware that such issues exist and a tricky subject to broach with those only wishing to feel joy and hope for their own future with the purchase of that special ring.

 

How can something so representative of love be tainted by the struggles of those in the supply chain that created it?

 

Fifteen years ago, Hollywood focused public attention on the atrocities committed in the sourcing of what had become known as a ‘Blood Diamond’ with its release of a film of that name. However, since then wider public awareness has somewhat plateaued. Have we simply assumed that because there has been a film about it the issues highlighted have somehow been resolved?

 

We in the privileged western world are continuing to realise the power we hold as consumers but that can be overwhelming. Can we find ourselves dampened by a feeling of eco overload when everything that we choose to spend our money on seems to have some negative impact on our precious planet somewhere down the line?

 

Independent jewellers have long been conscientiously sharing their own best practice with their individual client bases and the number of such jewellers committed to ethical practice has grown exponentially over recent years – but it has still been a story that’s fermenting rather than exploding. Reaching a wider audience takes a louder voice.

 

And so, to see an entire feature in September’s edition of British Vogue dedicated to ethical sourcing and transparency in the supply chain does feel like a pretty substantial bump up the ladder.

 

The global fashion behemoth has again put itself one step ahead of what its readership wants before they knew they want it and dedicated a glossy 4-page spread – dripping with gorgeous jewels – to discuss, in user friendly terms, the complexities of today’s jewellery industry.

 

In an edition dedicated entirely to defining what modern activism looks like, Vogue UK’s Jewellery and Watch Director Rachel Garrahan digs into the many challenges facing the jewellery industry supply chain but also celebrates its many achievements.

 

‘Now more than ever, jewellers are committing to responsible sourcing via supply chains as lucid as the gems themselves’ she writes. ‘In a global jewellery industry estimated to be worth £230 billion, there is a growing demand among consumers to be able to make ethically sound choices’

 

The article features sound bites from numerous long committed jewellers alongside a dazzling display of the precious creations themselves – such as those of Fair Luxury friend and co-conspirator Ute Decker. In addition to the glossy images it is also pleasing to see a number of the development initiatives and supply chain trailblazers gain recognition – including our very own, ever glamorous and fashion forward Stuart Pool of Nineteen48!

 

In the long game towards creating a more transparent and responsible business practice this is an encouraging indication of what can be achieved with greater consumer awareness. The continued commitment of those working in all sectors of our industry combined with our shared collaborative passion means that we can enjoy, with growing confidence, a sense that we are moving towards something that can sincerely be defined as Fair Luxury.

 

Anna Loucah, September 2020

 

 

 

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Take the Fair Luxury Pledge

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1523290663194{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”765″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Jewellery is bought, displayed and passed on as a token of love, a reflection of our personalities or as means of communicating power and wealth. Though beautiful and sparkly on the surface, sadly jewellery is often tarnished by its journey into fruition, via supply chains that harbour social injustice and perpetuate environmental destruction.

We know that when jewellery is produced responsibly it can provide sustainable livelihoods for all involved – from the miners of raw materials right through the supply chain to the ultimate designer or retailer of the finished piece.

As individual designers, makers, traders and educators we’ve pledged to make changes and business decisions that are driven by more than just profit. In every aspect of our work we seek to ensure that we are achieving and maintaining a safe, sustainable and just industry for all. We dream of one day casting our minds back and feeling proud to place ourselves at the core of the revolution that transformed the jewellery trade for good.

We are each at a different stage in our journey towards responsible business, but we are all working on it. No matter how big or small, our collective actions will change the world. Will you join the movement?

 

The Fair Luxury Pledge

Through the jewellery we create and the ways we run our businesses, those who make the Fair Luxury Pledge each promise to:

  • Conserve and restore the environment
  • Work in a way that is responsible, transparent and accountable
  • Play a role in educating and empowering others

 

Now, it’s your turn. Wondering how to take it from here? It’s simple:

1. Write down your 12-month plan of action. Which tangible steps will you take within the next year? Big or small, your measures should aim towards reducing collective impact on the environment, supporting the people that you connect with and creating a more equitable world for all. You could start by vowing simply to ensure that all your office waste is recycled responsibly, or take the plunge and commit to only sourcing artisanal and small-scale gold from now on. For some quick tips, check out our posts here or our Ethical Making Resource.

2. Share your plan with us in our Pledge forum on Facebook; then we’ll publish it on our website and social media platforms. Alternatively, leave your name and email address in the form here, along with a couple of sentences about who you are and your reasons for making the Pledge.

3. Download the Fair Luxury Pledge badge to share with your website visitors and social media followers. (Click here for the pledge badge) If you have the time, why not create a page on your website dedicated to explaining your pledge?

4. Encourage a jewellery friend to join the movement.

5. Sign up to our mailing list and keep an eye out for email updates about our webinars and events!

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The Shadow of Gold

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Join us for an online screening of

The Shadow of Gold

In partnership with
The Goldsmiths’ Centre and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths

 

Following the successful UK film premiere in March at the Goldsmiths’ Centre there is now another chance to catch this incredibly moving film and this time you can join us from wherever you are.

Date   Wed 24 June 2020
Time   6:00pm-8:00pm
Price   £5
Venue Online – via Zoom

BOOK NOW

The film reveals that glittering gold has a dark shadow, taking an unflinching look at how the world’s favourite precious metal is extracted from the earth. It explores both the big-time mining companies that dig deep and lop off mountaintops to extract gold from low-grade ore, and the small-time miners – an estimated 20 million people in the world’s poorest nations – who extract gold by hand, often producing just enough to survive.

 

 

But it doesn’t leave it there: we meet engineers, scientists, and Fair-Trade advocates who work with miners to tackle gold’s worst environmental and social problems. In an industrial-scale mine, we see new technology replacing cyanide-based processing with a biological process that leaves no toxic waste. We watch small-scale miners benefit from an environmentally friendly processes that replaces mercury and actually produces more gold. We meet Fair Trade jewellers who have created their own self-managed, transparent supply chain that ensures consumers know exactly where their gold comes from.

The film screening will be followed by a showing of the original panel discussion with the film producer Sally Blake, Duncan Marshall of Betts Metals and Rachel Brass of Levin Sources chaired by our very own Anna Loucah[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]