Gold's Dark Side - A blog by Christine Arena

Gold's Dark Side - A blog by Christine Arena


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 3:47pm


Investors are hoarding it to hedge against the dollar’s weakness. Consumers are buying it up in ever increasing volumes. Gold seemingly adds up to big opportunities wherever you look, with US gold jewelry sales representing a growing $17 billion market and China gold jewelry sales reaching nearly 260 billion yuan in 2009. But the fact is that this precious metal has a dark side, too. As gold’s prestige and value increases, so do the implications of the trade itself.

“Most consumers don't know where the gold in their products comes from, or how it is mined,” says, a group that encourages retailers to cease carrying gold that comes from illegal sources.  “Gold mining is a dirty industry: it can displace communities, contaminate drinking water, hurt workers, and destroy pristine environments.”

Dirty gold is no marginal issue. According to a recent 60 Minutes report, dirty gold mining is rather pervasive, and is also responsible for “the deadliest war since WWII.” Five million people have reportedly died in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a war primarily funded by gold mined in the country by warlords, and then smuggled out to be sold in retail stores around the world. Could that bracelet you just bought at Wal-Mart have come from illegal gold originated in Congo? According to 60 Minute’s findings, it is a vague possibility.

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