Mobile Top Button Desktop Top Button

How We’re Giving Back in 2022 & Beyond

Since our start in 2005, we’ve built our business around giving back to mining communities and those we operate in. Through the Brilliant Earth Foundation, we’re partnering with change makers and investing in carbon offsets to develop a supply chain that works for everyone. 

Our Partners

Pure Earth

Source: Pure Earth

In the Peruvian Amazonia, miners’ use of mercury in artisanal gold mining is exceptionally degrading for the surrounding environment and water sources.  Our partner, Pure Earth, has set out to shift the paradigm with the tools and practices miners need to master mercury-free mining techniques. The result: empowered miners, restored rainforests, and cleaner water.  

The breadth of this issue is one that not only touches miners and their families, but the community at large. According to Pure Earth, “mercury-contaminated water drains into waterways, transforming into methyl mercury, it’s most dangerous form. This is ingested by fish and ends up on dinner plates. Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – has toxic effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes and can cause serious health problems including miscarriages, respiratory failure, psychotic reactions, cardiovascular disease, and death.”  

In addition to improving community-wide health, mercury-free mining techniques are essential to the health of the Amazon rainforest. In fact, restoring rainforests damaged by deforestation and mercury pollution is key to maintaining the global water cycle, carbon fixation, and oxygen production, which all influence the earth’s climate.  

Our partnership with Pure Earth began in 2017, where we participated in trainings on mercury-free mining and rainforest restoration in Madre de Dios, Peru. Recently, we’ve taken our efforts to the next level. Over three years, our grant of $300,000 will help Pure Earth work closely with local Peruvian organizations like the Association of Artisan Miners Tauro Fátima (AMATAF) to certify mines to the Fairmined Ecolorgical Gold standard, which requires miners to refine gold without toxic chemicals and commit to restoring native rainforests.  

As a result of mercury-free training with AMATAF, other mining concessions in the region are reaching out to be trained. To date, we’ve reforested five hectares of rainforest while encouraging miners to reforest on their own. (That’s over 12 acres.) 

Pact

Source: Pact/Moyo Gems

We’re donating a $390,000 grant to Pact over two years to help them expand their Tanzanian partner (and one of our gemstone sources) Moyo Gemstones, into Kenya. Named after the word for ‘heart’ in Swahili, Moyo Gemstones empowers female artisanal miners through safer work environments, better mining practices, and improved equity in fair trade markets.  

Cristina Villegas, Gemstone Expert and Director of Mines to Markets at Pact said, “We’ve often found that miners – the ones doing the hardest work in the gem trade – know the least about gemstones. This puts them at an obvious disadvantage when it comes to selling, when the gem’s species, features, cut potential and hues all come into play and when basic gem knowledge is power. We wanted to level the playing field.” 

Through training programs that teach the female miners the value of their gemstones, to “Market Days” where they can get a fair price, Moyo Gemstones is revolutionizing the supply chain for artisanally-mined gemstones. Because of this, it’s only natural that Pact is seeking to expand Moyo’s efforts to neighboring Kenya. Our grant will help support the expansion and funding of programs that will empower financial literacy throughout the female mining community. Women will learn skills like budgeting, business planning, and have access to a microfinance program that allows them to take out loans for their business. This creates a social safety net that supports the miners through the highs and lows.

Diamond Development Initiative

Source: Resolve

We have partnered with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), now part of Resolve, since 2008 on challenges in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). Millions of ASM miners live in poverty around the world, often employing unsafe mining practices that damage the environment and negatively affect the health of the miners and their families.  

DDI-Resolve encourages land restoration, alternative livelihoods for miners, and responsible sourcing so artisanal diamond miners are compensated fairly for their work. DDI-Resolve also developed a standard to bring ASM diamonds to market in a socially and environmentally responsible way. 

Over our 14-year partnership with DDI-Resolve, we have funded a primary school in a rural diamond mining community in the Democratic Republic of Congo, traveled to diamond mines in Sierra Leone to learn about ASM challenges first-hand, and supported DDI-Resolve’s efforts to eliminate child labor from diamond mining, protect human rights, and create standards for ASM operations that ensure health and safety and environmental protection. 

In 2021, we began a new four-year, $100,000 Peace Diamonds Restoration Initiative to support these DDI-Resolve goals: 

At the end of 2021, DDI-Resolve reported 29 mining sites rehabilitated in the Kono District of Sierra Leone, which employed 474 young adults, with stipends reaching 2,485 direct beneficiaries. 240 young adults from 30 households are now cultivating crops on 15 hectares of rehabilitated lands from these former mining sites, which can support the cultivation of 766 bushels of rice, plus an average of 22% surplus in crop yields. Ten farmer-based organizations were formed to support women-led land stewardship, and these lands now serve about 5480 or more indirect beneficiaries. 

Carbon Offsets

Texas Capricorn Ridge Wind Project

Source: carbonfund.org

We are, and have been, committed to reducing our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. Through carbon offsetting, we’ve contributed to the Texas Capricorn Ridge Wind Project, which generates renewable energy to power 220,000 homes, helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and develops local business and infrastructure, and fosters community. 

Jewelry with Meaning

We believe jewelry can be used as a force for good. Discover pieces that give back to causes core to our mission.

You Might Also Like from the blog

Get Inspired

Tag us on Instagram @brilliantearth

Comments (0)

How We’re Giving Back in 2022 & Beyond - Brilliant Earth