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Fairmined Initiative: Responsible Gold Mining Contributing to the SDGs, as Seen Through the Lens of Stefano Guindani

Photo: Fairmined team

The Fairmined initiative was recognized for its positive impact on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #8, ‘Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.’ Photographer Stefano Guindani and anthropologist Alberto Salza, in an innovative collaboration led by Banca Generali, explored the progress towards the SDG’s of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.

Italian photographer Stefano Guindani was tasked with highlighting initiatives that are providing sustainable solutions for each goal. The Fairmined initiative was chosen for its impact on Goal #8, which focuses on inclusive and sustainable economic growth—a mission the initiative has been pursuing since 2009 in developing countries worldwide.

Armed with his camera and accompanied by his colleague Giovanni Dalla Libera, photographer Stefano Guindani embarked on an adventure to visit Fairmined-certified mines in Colombia, landing in the Cauca department. After hours on narrow roads deep in the Colombian forest where the mountain ranges are born, the photographers were welcomed by miners representing a unique category in their sector: responsible and certified artisanal and small-scale mining. These miners conduct their activities in compliance with the Fairmined standard, which ensures environmentally low-impact mining, extraction using clean technologies, fair labor practices, and respect for human rights.

Photo Alliance for responsible Mining

Stefano’s interest in Fairmined-certified mining organizations stemmed from the BG 4 SDGs – Time to Change project, an initiative by Banca Generali. This project seeks to assess global progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which constitute a worldwide call to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.

The mining organization Chede, which has held Fairmined certification for 5 consecutive years, hosted this visit. Their operation generates 60 jobs and is located in Tambo, Cauca, an area marked by armed conflict in Colombia, posing significant challenges for local communities.

Guindani’s lens captured the changes initiated by the Fairmined initiative in the municipality. Mining organizations that join the initiative receive fair compensation for their gold and a premium ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 USD per kilogram sold in fair markets. With this premium, miners carry out local economic, social, and environmental development projects. These investments empower artisanal and small-scale miners to promote the use of clean technologies, improve community living conditions, and promote gender equality.


Chede is an exemplary mine in the region, producing gold with the highest standards of responsible extraction. Through the Fairmined premium, they have not only updated the mining operation’s technology and workers safety and wellness but have also provided well-being to the community. They built a park for the local school in the municipality of El Tambo, paved a section of the main road of the town, and every year organize the Children’s Day event at El Tambo school. Furthermore, they actively work to close the gender gap in the operation, offering opportunities for women from the region to be part of the organization in leadership roles.
“These mines, supported by the Fairmined Initiative, represent a beacon of hope in a sector (gold sector) often marked by harmful ecological impact and indifference to social issues,” emphasized Olga Rojas, Communications Officer of the Fairmined Initiative, who accompanied the visitors during their tour in Colombia.

In Colombia, approximately 350,000 people are involved in gold-related work, representing families and communities in the most remote corners of the country. This staggering number underscores the importance of conscientious mining practices that consider both human well-being and the environment.

The collaboration with BG4SDGs – Time to Change has amplified the narrative around the significance of choosing sustainable paths on a global scale. In the case of SDG #8, through the evocative images captured by Stefano Guindani, the stories of miners, landscapes, and the impact of responsible practices come to life.

Learn more about the impact of Fairmined here.

For more information on the project by Banca Generali, Stefano Guindani, and Alberto Salza, visit the sustainable development goals highlighted by BG4SDGs – Time to Change.