Sunday, October 24, 2010

Green Gold – Wal Mart and Tiffany Co.

Fine jewelry that consists of silver and gold, the normal daily accessories for many people lies a deep story behind the making.  Mining industries-one of the world’s dirtiest industries, miners dig for copper, silver and gold each day and removing tons of earth each day in which more than 99% is waste and only a small fraction of it would make the cut. 

Big retailers such as Wal Mart and Tiffany Co are pushing mining companies to adopt strict guidance and environmental and social standards for the industries.  In US, mining enough gold to make a 18 carat ring produces 20 tons of waste and metal mining creates 30% of all toxic releases and waste, more than any other single industry.  Is even worst in undeveloped world where lack of knowledge and concerns of waste and environmental impact was kept out of the picture.  CEO of Tiffany & Co. J Kowalski took the matter seriously and looked into the origins of its gold and silver but was unable to 
gather any insight on where it came from.   They would not tell them which mine and even which country it came from and is very fragmented. Tiffany & Co. and Walmart both solved this problem by buying its gold exclusively from Bingham Canyon in Salt Lake City and Kennecott and Newmont Mining Corp. from its mines in Nevada for gold and silver.  These mines have stricter standards, practices environmental and sustainability issues, and better safety regulations for the mine workers and the environment.  Walmart and Tiffany & Co. both took a big initial step towards opening doors and setting up environmental and social standards for the mining industries. 

By Xi Zhong

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