Target, the third-largest retail chain in the U.S., has pledged to shun gold from irresponsible mining and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. becomes the 73rd signer of "Golden Rules," a set of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of precious metals from the No Dirty Gold campaign. Target ranks No. 10 among U.S. jewelry retailers with 2009 sales of about $450 million. The Golden Rules have now been signed by eight of the top 10 jewelry sellers in the country, with combined annual sales of more than $13.5 billion, about a quarter of the total U.S. jewelry market.
"Target is proud to be part of the No Dirty Gold campaign," said Tim Mantel, president, Target Sourcing Services. "Our approach to sourcing products throughout the world is grounded in our heritage of strong business ethics."
Earthworks, an international mining reform organization, spearheads the No Dirty Gold campaign. Target joins companies ranging from luxury brands such as Tiffany and Cartier to retail chains such as Sears/Kmart and JCPenney, who have signed onto the campaign.
“Target's commitment brings us one step closer to the day when gold and other precious metals are no longer tarnished by environmental harm or human rights abuses,” said Payal Sampat, Earthworks international campaign director.
The production of one gold ring generates an average of 20 tons of mine waste, Earthworks says. Gold mining has been linked to human rights violations, forest destruction, toxic pollution, and loss of lands and livelihoods.
More than 100,000 individuals have signed on to the No Dirty Gold consumer pledge, Earthworks says. Thousands of these No Dirty Gold members, and over 20,000 members of change.org, the world's fastest growing platform for social change, have called on retailers and mining companies to provide alternatives to dirty gold.