At Maren Jewellery we only use recycled gold. This means that we have decided to not use newly mined gold. But to still do something for positive change in the gold industry, we support the Earthbeat Foundation with 3% of our annual profit.
The Earthbeat Foundation was founded in 2012 with a clearly defined goal: The team around founder Guya Merkle wants to support the legal, safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly handling of gold as a raw material and put an end to new gold mining. For how harmful gold mining is for people and the environment, what long-term risks and burdens are done to the earth with it - that is really hard to accept. That's why the initiative has formulated a motto to guide its work: "Strengthen the circular economy to conserve natural resources and thus secure the livelihood of future generations." A vision that we at Maren Jewellery also want to support!
Urban mining is a first step towards circular economy
How can gold mining be brought into harmony with nature and people? Strengthening the circular economy means promoting urban mining, i.e. the extraction of gold from old electronic equipment or the recycling of old gold to return it to the production cycle, so that new gold mining becomes unnecessary in the long term.
A new hope for mine workers
But: What happens to all the people who work in the gold mines when gold no longer needs to be mined? The Earthbeat Foundation uses a 5-target plan to help the estimated 80 million people whose livelihoods depend on mining to provide them with a new livelihood.
Former abandoned mine sites are being converted to allow for new uses, households are being strengthened to ensure middle-income levels, sustainable investments are being made so that self-reliant, independent livelihoods can be established, educational opportunities are being promoted to give people a foundation on which to build their new lives in an emancipated manner, and community is being promoted to allow for shared learning.
Interview with Earthbeat Foundation founder Guya Merkle
We are pleased to have the opportunity to interview the founder of the Earthbeat Foundation to give her a chance to share her vision.
How did the idea to establish the Earthbeat Foundation come about?
When I was in Peru to look at conventional small-scale gold mining, I realized relatively quickly that I did not want to accept this. It was one thing to use ethically correct resources with the label. However, I was aware that this would not be enough.
We need to change things together as an industry and that's why I wanted to start an initiative that can make that happen. If you focus on urban mining, that's great and in my eyes it's the future, but you also have to work where the problems are the biggest, and those are the communities that depend on gold mining. That's why I wanted to create alternatives to gold mining and give the whole project a form so that everyone from the industry can participate.
What projects are you initiating to provide a new livelihood opportunity for people who make a living from small scale mining?
That always depends on the community. We don't see our work as classic development aid, but as a partnership with the people in the community. They decide what they would like to build up. In most cases, these are areas that already exist but cannot be professionalized without a strong partner at their side. This is how the beekeeping project came about in the pilot project in Uganda. People had already tried their hand at beekeeping, but it just didn't work out. With the foundation as a partner, they were able to do professional training, set up more hives and sell the honey produced.
If you could wish for anything in the future of gold mining, what would it be?
That we manage to deal so consciously with the raw material gold that we can actually only obtain it from urban mining. There is enough gold mined, we just have to change the way we deal with it and use it in a circular way. Gold always remains gold and cannot be used up. I would like to see us get more into a sharing mindset with this precious resource. Of course, we have to make sure that people who have been employed in gold mining for lack of alternatives can create sustainable and long-term sources of income.
Written by: Moritz Hackl
Moritz is a copywriter, blogger and journalist living in Munich.
More than anything else, he likes to write about the beautiful things in life -
such as about sustainable jewellery.