The challenge: no formal certification process exists to ensure that gold is conflict-free. Nonprofit organizer Earthworks hopes awareness of the coalition will help spawn the creation of a system to ensure gold has been produced without harm to people or the environment.
Earthworks says the production of one gold ring results in 20 tons of mine waste, on average. As you might expect, unchecked mining operations can cause human rights violations, forest destruction and toxic pollution.
CBS' 60 Minutes recently reported on the role gold mining plays in an ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
Sixty retailers in total have signed the pledge, including such familiar names as Zales, Tiffany & Co. and J.C. Penney.
Some major holdouts remain: Target and Rolex have yet to participate.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com