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Jewelry Consumers Flex Green Muscles with Target and Costco


At Brilliant Earth, we’re strong believers in the power of consumers to drive positive social and environmental change. A case in point is the success of the No Dirty Gold campaign by Earthworks International. Jewelry retailers have been pledging to support the campaign and abide by No Dirty Gold’s “Golden Rules” for responsible gold mining. So far, more than 70 retailers—including Brilliant Earth—have signed on to the Golden Rules. The latest retailer to sign the pledge is Target, one of the 10 largest jewelry retailers in the United States.


Our mission at Brilliant Earth is to offer the highest-quality jewelry produced in accordance with the strictest labor and environmental standards. Gold mining destroys landscapes and poisons water supplies with toxic substances like mercury and cyanide. Gold mining often relies on child labor—an estimated one million children worldwide are gold miners—and it is fueling a deadly civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. To avoid these devastating effects, Brilliant Earth jewelry is made from recycled gold. This means that no gold mining is required at all when you buy a piece of Brilliant Earth jewelry and that we’re compliant with the Golden Rules.


Many jewelers, however, don’t make social and environmental responsibility such a key part of their mission. What then explains the decision of so many retailers to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign? Many are factors involved, but rising consumer awareness is surely having a big effect. In March, a petition on Change.org was circulated asking Target to agree to the Golden Rules. After the petition received about 22,000 signatures, Target agreed. Now another petition on Change.org is asking Costco to adhere to the Golden Rules. More than 27,000 people have signed the petition. We urge you to sign too!


We’re well aware that changes in gold mining practices will take time.  For instance, although Wal-Mart has agreed to the Golden Rules, even its most eco-friendly jewelry line is not particularly eco-friendly. And last year, a No Dirty Gold report evaluating the retailers that had signed the Golden Rules gave most retailers low marks for compliance. Brilliant Earth was one of the few exceptions. All the same, we’re extremely encouraged by the success of the No Dirty Gold campaign. The fact that more than 70 retailers have signed the pledge is a reflection of rising consumer awareness and clout. That’s a major, positive step.


If consumers keep flexing their muscles, retailers eventually will need to keep their word. So keep up the pressure. And please sign the petition asking Costco to stop selling dirty gold!


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