Chopard sources gold from Colombian artisanal

By Stacey Hailes

Having achieved a 100% ethical gold supply chain since 2018, Chopard today announced another ground-breaking scheme as part of its ‘Journey to Sustainable Luxury’.

In conjunction with the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), the luxury jewellery and watch maison has begun sourcing gold from the Barequeros in El Choco, Colombia.

El Chocó is Colombia’s second-largest gold producing region but also one of the country’s poorest. The Barequeros are artisanal gold miners of whom 46% are women. They use local traditional alluvial mining techniques with hand equipment such as sluices and panning. Their methods use no mercury, thus protecting the region’s biodiversity which is among the most unique in the world.

To be legally registered, the Barequeros need to obtain a special permit that allows them to produce manually and sell up 420 grams of gold per year.

As part of this programme, the Barequeros will now supply gold as part of a fully traceable and responsible international supply chain. In line with its Journey to Sustainable Luxury, Chopard has partnered this new initiative led by the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA).

This value chain is part of a broader program supported by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the SBGA to foster responsible and small-scale gold miners.

The programme ensures that the Barequeros receive not only a competitive price but also a special SBGA Better Gold Incentive of 0.70 USD per gram for them to reinvest into improving their living and working conditions. In addition, this value chain allows them to know the exact destination of their gold. To date, five hundred Barequeros have received support from this initiative.

Chopard co-president and artistic director, Caroline Scheufele, shares: “Sustainability is a moving target, it’s a journey which never ends. And today, more than ever, it has to be our priority to protect the people on the ground who make our business possible. I am honoured to have been able to partner with the SBGA on this extraordinary project and I look forward to seeing it grow over the years.”

Chopard has been supporting artisanal mining through its Journey to Sustainable Luxury since 2013 when, alongside Eco-Age, it forged a philanthropic relationship with influential South American mining NGO, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM).

The world’s first watch and luxury jewellery maison to directly support mining communities by providing training, social welfare and environmental support, in 2018 Chopard announced that it had created a 100% ethical gold supply chain for all its watch and jewellery creations.

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