Our understanding is that there is no such thing as ethical mining at this time. Previously, we used Fairtrade silver to ensure miners were paid a fair price for their livelihood. Unfortunately, Fairtrade silver can still be problematic, because it does not exclude the use of toxic metals like mercury and cyanide. This can have fatal consequences for the the people working in the mines and the environment.
Moving forward, Rat Betty will be using 100% recycled sterling silver castings. Rather than being mined, this is made using scrap from jewellery, gift ware, medical and electronics industries. This silver is 100% recycled, traceable and audited. Our suppliers are audited to the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) standard.
Rat Betty is registered with the Fairtrade Goldsmith scheme. The gold used for all cast pieces is Fairtrade. Buying Fairtrade ensures miners are paid a fair price for their livelihood.
We are actively looking into how we source gold. Up until now, we have been using Fairtrade gold. We are looking into (1) eco-friendly gold and / or (2) 100% recycled & traceable gold. Until we have a plan of action for gold, we will continue to use Fairtrade gold as this is better than the alternatives where miners are not paid a fair price for their labour.