EARTHWORKS

"Love, Earth" Wal-Mart jewelry -- not so Loving

Scott Cardiff's avatar
By Scott Cardiff

January 5, 2011

A new investigation in the Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times has shed more light on Wal-Mart's "Love, Earth" jewelry line, and it's not looking so Lovely. In fact, the jewelry's looking rather like dirty gold: it comes at a great cost to jewelry factory workers and to the environment and communities around the mines.

The new investigation raises grave concerns about the labor conditions for the production of the jewelry. Workers at the Aurafin production factory in Bolivia work long hours in oppressive conditions for low wages. Factory managers have failed to provide masks or provide healthy working conditions. Sub-contracting workshops for Aurafin are even worse, and have even locked their workers out and closed down when the workers tried to unionize.

The mines affiliated with Love, Earth are a major concern as well. As the investigation describes, the line of jewelry discloses what mines it supposedly comes from, but the Newmont and Rio Tinto mines that it sources from have caused extensive water pollution and massive mercury emissions into the air. The mines have also failed to respect communities' rights to grant or withhold their consent for mining projects.

This new report adds to the existing concerns over Wal-Mart's "Love, Earth" that began as soon as it launched in mid-2008. Groups at that time emphasized that "Love, Earth" is greenwashing and one responsible jewelry expert called the line "Earth Death." EARTHWORKS has continued to raise concerns about "Love, Earth" standards and sourcing.

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Tagged with: walmart, rio tinto, newmont, mercury, love earth, labor, greenwashing, gold, dirty gold, bingham canyon

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