First-ever fairtrade gold medal awarded at EYOF 2013

World’s first fairtrade gold medal will be presented this Monday during the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The medal, with a drop of pure fairtrade gold, will be presented during the finals of Track & Field. Until today, no medal has ever been produced with fair gold.

Three time Olympic gold medal winner Pieter van den Hoogenband aims to ensure that the gold used for gold medals at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 will be mined in a fair and responsible way. Therefore, the swimming champion joins hands with development organisation Solidaridad in the campaign “On Our Way to Good Gold”.

Gold mining can cause great harm to people and the environment. Many small-scale miners and people living around large mines see little return on the value of gold.

First responsible gold medal

The first medal produced in a responsible and fair way was unveiled in the Netherlands. These medals, symbolising the top achievement in sport and sustainability, will be awarded during the European Youth Olympic Festival from July 14th through the 19th in Utrecht.

“As a professional athlete, I used to train under ideal circumstances and I always competed fairly for Olympic gold,” said Pieter van den Hoogenband. “So in my opinion, if the miners cannot obtain the same gold in a responsible and fair way, the differences are incompatible, and of course action must be taken. As a spokesperson for Solidaridad's campaign “On Our Way to Good Gold”, I wish to draw attention to these issues towards the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 with the intention of contributing to an improvement in the situation gold miners and their families face.”

Each of the 225 gold medals awarded at the European Youth Olympic Festival contains a visible drop of gold mined by small-scale miners in Peru. It is the first time that an international sports prize is being defined by a sustainable dimension.

Helping miners to improve livelihoods

In its campaign, Solidaridad is drawing attention to the very difficult social and environmental conditions in gold mining, and the potential to enable miners to improve their livelihoods through better social and environmental practices. Solidaridad is currently providing training to over 5,000 small-scale miners in 8 countries in Latin America and Africa.

Nico Roozen Director: “The toxic chemical mercury is used in small-scale gold mining and when this is done in an irresponsible manner, it is very harmful to the miners, their communities and nature. In addition, gold miners often work under very harsh conditions and they are systematically underpaid. All of this is in stark contrast to the way gold is perceived in the Western world, where it is the symbol of luxury or the reward you get for the best performance.”