Even if we don't realise it, gold is part of our lives: when we fall in love or celebrate, when we buy or invest, when we win or are rewarded.
Gold is mined all over the world both in highly automated industrial mines and in small artisanal mines.
Artisanal mining often takes place in rural villages, using simple tools and technology, where working conditions are, unfortunately, dangerous.
Mines do not always have a good reputation.
Many times artisanal mining is associated with illegality, exploitation of child labour, poor protection for miners' safety and above all environmental disaster: the discharge of mercury, cyanide and other toxic substances causes serious pollution of the air, soil and water.
It is estimated that there are now 12 million miners who, along with their families, depend on gold for survival.
But there is good news.
Fortunately, there are some places where miners and the environment are fully protected: Fairmined Gold is the solution that makes artisanal gold mining possible, providing opportunities for miners' communities and safeguarding the land.
The programme, created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in 2007 and given the standard name Fairmined in 2014, provides a special certification that guarantees gold extracted in small artisanal mines.
The Fairmined standard includes a list of benefits and requirements concerning mining organisation, community development and environmental protection.
Adhering to this protocol implies a major change in the organisation of the mine and entails new rights and duties for the miners.
It is no coincidence that the Fairmined standard is based on the principles laid down by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN declarations on the rights of individuals, the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.
Today, nine mines around the world have been awarded this label, in Peru and Colombia , and some 50 are in the process of processing and certification.
Fairmined Gold is the right gold for jewellery and electronics companies that want transparency in the production chain and guarantees on the environmental and social impact of mining. This is the right gold for informed consumers looking for socially and ecologically sustainable products.