Colombia - 2009 Gold Winner - Oro Verde®

Colombia - 2009 Gold Winner - Oro Verde®

Oro Verde® reverses environmental degradation, caused by uncontrolled mining in the Chocó Bioregion by developing certified responsible mining practices.

The enterprise has created the basis for the world’s first local certification scheme for precious metals and has propelled a worldwide fair-trade movement around responsible small-scale mining. The artisanal miners who extract the gold and platinum preserve the Chocó Bioregion, one of the world’s biodiversity reservoirs, by fostering sustainable use of natural resources between the mining communities. Both the miners and the tropical rainforest are protected from contamination produced by the use of mercury or cyanide in normal commercial mining practices. The responsibly extracted gold and platinum is then sold under the Oro Verde brand name to ethical jewellers in green and fair (trade) markets mainly in Europe and North America. With the SEED support Oro Verde® was able to:

  • design and implementation a comprehensive marketing strategy,
  • profile Oro Verde nationally and internationally,
  • identify and approach new partners to replicate the project in other communities,
  • assure the legal stability of the artisanal miners, in the Colombian Chocó Bioregion by creationg an inter-institutional committee to tackle the threats on the collective rights of the ethnic communities.

According to Oro Verde® winning the SEED Award also “gave them a certain level of political relevance that has translated into the strong interest of the national government”. Since 2009 Oro Verde® has also received international recognition, for instance:

  • it was green gold from the Oro Verde mines that Livia Firth wore on the red carpet, when her husband, Colin, accepted his Academy Award for Best Actor at the Oscars 2011 ceremony,
  • Greg Valerio, Fair Trade and human rights campaigner, and founder of both CRED Jewellery and the CRED Foundation, also recognised Oro Verde’s invaluable role at the launch of Fairtrade Gold and testified that ‘Oro Verde put soul back into Gold’.
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