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This Valentine's Day, 90 jewelry retailers say 'no' to dirty gold

Macy’s called out as industry laggard

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By: Earthworks

dirtygold_400.jpg
WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 13, 2013 - Over 90 of the world's leading jewelry retailers, including 8 of the top 10 US retailers, have committed to more responsible metals sourcing by signing the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules. However, Macy's Inc., the fifth largest jewelry seller in the US, lags behind and has yet to meaningfully commit to cleaning up its gold supply chain. The campaign's Facebook-based Valentine's Day card urges Macy's to dump dirty gold, and has been widely viewed and shared.

"Dirty gold is no way to show your love on Valentine's Day," said Payal Sampat of Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign. "Macy's customers need to know that the gold jewelry they are buying is not produced at the cost of clean water or children's health."

Gold mining is one of the world's most destructive industries, and has been linked to human rights abuses, perpetual water pollution, destroyed wildlands, and long-term health impacts. Producing a single gold ring leaves behind 20 tons of mine waste, on average. EPA data shows that metal mining is the largest toxic polluter in the United States.

While the jewelry industry is not driving the earth-moving equipment at minesites, it is driving demand for gold; jewelry demand accounts for more than 70 percent of newly mined gold.

The world's largest jewelry retailers including Tiffany & Co., Target, and Zales have all committed to steps to clean up irresponsible gold mining. These include studying their metals supply chains, revising their supplier sourcing criteria to include the Golden Rules, increasing recycled gold content, and seeking more responsibly produced metals.

The Valentine's Day card circulating on Facebook reads: "Roses are red, Cyanide is Blue, Dirty Gold is no way to say I love you," and leads viewers to an action alert urging Macy's to clean up its gold supply chain.

Macy's remains one of the last major jewelry retailers that has yet to sign the Golden Rules. The department store chain, which includes Bloomingdale's, is the fifth-largest retailer of gold jewelry in the United States, ringing up $1.6 billion in jewelry sales in 2011.

Top 10 Jewelry Retailers
National Jeweler, 2011 U.S. sales data


1 STERLING JEWELERS INC. $3,034,100,000
2 WALMART $2,800,000,000
3 TIFFANY & CO. $1,805,783,000
4 ZALE CORP. $1,742,563,000
5 MACY'S INC. $1,600,000,000
6 QVC $827,000,000
7 SEARS HOLDINGS CORP. $800,000,000
8 JCPENNEY CO. $690,000,000
9 COSTCO WHOLESALE $525,000,000
10 TARGET STORES $475,000,000

 

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