The Oro Verde program in the Chocó Bioregion of Colombia was the inspiration behind the creation of the Alliance for Responsible Mining. Oro Verde, or the Green Gold program, was a world’s first in many ways. For the first time ever, ecological gold from Artisanal and Small-scale Mining was certified and the gold sold to pioneering ethical jewelers across the globe.
Oro Verde has involved about 1,300 miners in the certification system and the premium they earn helps pay for local community development projects and diversification into other livelihood activities. Now a brand in its own right, the program has successfully merged the ancestral knowledge of local communities with scientific and technical know-how to make mining clean, green and safe – the gold they mine is being certified and labelled as both Fairtrade and Fairmined.
Oro Verde proved that mining and environmental destruction did not have to go hand in hand, and that there were market opportunities for miners wanting to protect the biodiversity of their land. The Fairmined gold standard of the ARM is supported by the international development community. However, the initiative needs a business model that enables them to survive in the long run and to ensure continued development in the mining communities they were made to support. Recently, the support organization Amichocó quit from the project and only one community, Asocasan, continued. For more information see the new Oro Verde website.
Mosquero, H. (2005). Programa Oro Verde: Reflexiones de una inspección de campo.