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Fairever: the pioneer supplier for fair traded precious metals in Germany

Fairever: the pioneer supplier for fair traded precious metals in Germany

By:  Laura Galvis, Market Development Officer  – Alliance for Responsible Mining

April is coming to an end, a month to celebrate the Earth and to raise environmental awareness and create consciousness around the issues that affect mother nature. On this special occasion, we want to celebrate the German precious metals trader and supplier Fairever, for being a pioneer and its commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and improving the living and working conditions of mining communities.

About the brand

Laura Galvis: What is Fairever’s purpose and how did it come to be?

Desirée Binternagel:  Founder and managing director Florian Harkort was always interested in sustainable development throughout his career path. When he established Fairever in mid 2015, he started the company with one major goal – to make gold & silver from responsible mining and fair trade better known and more easily available. In 2015, Fairever became the first Fairtrade certified precious metals trader in Germany. Since spring 2017, we’re proud to be a Fairmined Authorized Supplier.

Fairever team

LG: What is Fairevers product and service offer? And, who can access this offer?

DB: We see ourselves as an international company and try to make fair mined and traded gold the new norm for jewelry makers around the world. Our offer includes an extensive range of semi-finished products (grain, round wire, square wire, sheet) in various alloys out of Fairmined Gold, Fairmined Eco Gold & Fairmined Silver as well as other types of certified ASM gold, In addition, we offer gold bars as an ethical investment solution and we just added a new product to our portfolio: a selection of Fairmined Gold Chains, to which we hope to add more styles. 

LG: What is that unique aspect about your business that  makes it different from all others? What’s your unique value proposition?

DB: We understand fair mined & traded gold as a fantastic opportunity to sustainably improve the living and working conditions of (potentially) millions of mine workers and their communities in developing countries.

For the average customer it is not as easy though, to find an ethical source for their gold supply. This is where we step in. From investment bars, to granulate, or semi-finished products needed for jewelry making, we are a trusted source for responsible gold. Fairever, being a certified Fairmined supplier, meets all Fairmined standard requirements, so our customers do not need to worry about where their gold is from, when they buy from us.

LG: What are the main challenges the company faces, while offering more responsible sources of gold?

DB: First, we need to create more awareness in the industry. It is not as common, yet, to think about where the gold for wedding rings is from and under what conditions it was mined. Second, people have a lot of questions about the integrity of the certifications for the gold we offer. They want to know if the miners, and their communities, really are the beneficiaries of the premiums they pay. By staying transparent and passing on information, we try to master the challenge of turning everybody into an advocate for the great cause of “gold to be proud of”, as your initiative would say it.

Florian and Rolberto Álvarez during a visit to the Fairmined certified mines in Colombia.

LG: What made Fairever think about the origin of gold, and triggered the idea of ethical sourcing? 

DB: Fairever’s founder Florian was living in Africa for a while and he was shocked to see how some informal miners were operating. Child labour and unsafe working conditions with poisonous substances were a common view. 

Back at home in Germany, he tried to find out where the gold, being sold here, is coming from and under what conditions the mining took place. When he couldn’t get an answer he was happy with, he began researching alternatives to the gold mining he had seen. He discovered the potential of small-scale mining (if done responsibly) and he interpreted it as a great opportunity to sustainably improve the living conditions of as many people as possible. Millions of people work in artisanal small-scale mining. If you also count in the communities surrounding the small mines you get an idea of how many people are actually affected by this industry.

Working with Fairmined and the Alliance for Responsible Mining

LG: How did you come across becoming a member of the Fairmined initiative as an authorized supplier?

Our goal was to change the common standards in the industry by adopting a new one. Gold is a luxury product and it is almost unbelievable that not many people think about its origin. Especially the people doing the hard work of extracting the gold, should get their fair share, so that their communities can flourish in the way they rightly deserve. 

Of course, the environment is also an important factor to all of us. Everybody in our team is invested in the future of our planet. We want our children to experience this world in its natural beauty and help prevent environmental pollution.

“Fairmined is on the ground with miners, making sure they get all the help they need to obtain the certification. Whereas Fairever, on the other hand, tries everything in its power to convince as many customers as possible of the positive impact everybody can have, by simply choosing what kind of gold they buy”

Desirée Binternagel - CEO at Fairever Tweet

LG: Working with Fairmined gives us a chance to contribute to this cause. On field trips to artisanal mining communities in Peru, Colombia and Mongolia, we have already been able to see what a positive difference the certification can really make and this motivates us to do the best work we can each day. What can you highlight about your experience working with the Fairmined team?

DB: Fairmined is on the ground with miners, making sure they get all the help they need to obtain the certification. Whereas our team, on the other hand, tries everything in its power to convince as many customers as possible of the positive impact everybody can have, by simply choosing what kind of gold they buy.

This makes for a great synergy of working together with Fairmined on our common objectives.

Desirée with the team of Cecomip, one of the Fairmined certified mines in Puno, Perú.

LG: What were your biggest challenges or adjustments required to become an authorized supplier of the Fairmined initiative?

DB: The biggest challenge was the practical implementation of the standard. For months, the company’s whole attention was focused on each detail of the requirements. 

Another challenge is the work with the mining organizations themselves. One needs to be sensitive about cultural differences when negotiating business processes. Fairmined has been a big help in navigating these differences as they know a lot about the actual problems the miners face in their day to day life

Of course, it was a challenge to adopt all necessary reports and requirements into our system. But this process helped us to further define our own quality management. We are thankful to have Fairmined with us along the way to realize our mission of changing the lives of as many people as we can in the long term.  

Goals, success and impact

LG: How have you evaluated the impact and response of working with Fairmined in your customer base?

DB: Our customers love the idea of Fairmined Ecological Gold as a more wholesome solution to responsible gold mining. In order for gold to be certified as Fairmined Ecological Gold, the use of toxic chemicals is prohibited and the focus is on protecting the environment with, for example, restoration of forests. We find this approach especially appealing and so do our customers.

LG: From your perspective, how has Fairmined transformed your business and the mining industry?

Fairmined being specialized in the mining industry is a huge advantage as they really are experts regarding the miners’ needs. Also, the higher premium, which the communities receive, does make an essential impact in their social development.

The Fairmined Ecological certification is another big win for everybody. It makes the strongest case for environmental protection, which the mining communities, our customers, and ourselves highly appreciate.

LG: What’s in the future for Fairever?

DB: We have just expanded our team to be able to reach even more people with our mission – achieving a change towards more responsible sourcing of precious metals. 

Fairever’s team during Inhorgenta Fair on 2022.

By being present at many jewelry fairs, and by speaking up, we will try to achieve our goal to transform the market, so mining communities can benefit from the positive impact of fair mined and traded gold. 

We have a cause and we are proud to fight for it. This attitude will hopefully help us to convince many more to be part of our joint mission. Fairever in our map.

“I see Fairmined as an inspiring team of people who make a real impact in artisanal small-scale mining communities”
Desiree Binternagel
CEO Fairever
To find out more about the Fairmined initiative writes us at:
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