Recycled gold: the environmental choice
Every day at Courbet, decisions are taken, choices are made. Whatever the question, we opt for the most environmentally sustainable solution. This isn't always the easiest road to take; sometimes it implies additional investment too, but the need to act is urgent and we believe there can be no other option than to put the planet first.
This is why Courbet uses only laboratory-grown diamonds: because they have less of an environmental impact.
The same applies to the gold Courbet uses. We studied the different options and unanimously came out in favour of recycled gold which, because it doesn't need to be mined, is more respectful of the planet.
Even in the best conditions, gold mining is detrimental to the environment. It destroys forests, consumes vast amounts of water, and generates chemical pollution. From a human perspective, the consequences can be equally catastrophic, from hazardous working conditions to illicit mining and the funding of illegal activities. Labels such as Fairmined and Fairtrade have helped bring about considerable improvements to the human aspect of gold mining, but they concern only a tiny proportion of production – just a few kilograms a year – and cannot guarantee that cyanide and mercury – toxic chemicals that separate gold from rock – will not be used. No-one can blame the miners: recovering gold without them is a much slower, more complex process. What we can do, however, is to step back, think further, and choose an alternative for today and for the long term too.
The World Gold Council estimates the planet's gold reserves at 244,00 tonnes of which 187,000 tonnes have already been mined: two-thirds of that in the past 70 years! According to the United States Geological Survey, only 57,000 tonnes of gold remain in the ground. Do we really need to mine it? What if we told you that extracting enough precious metal to make a plain gold band produces two tonnes of waste, more than 40 kg of CO2 and uses 5,000 litres of water. Gold is a wonderful thing! It can be melted, transformed and recycled an infinite number of times. Surely it's our responsibility to work with gold that has already been mined, rather than digging deeper and deeper in search of new supplies?
Courbet works with a specialist in metal recycling to recover the gold from electronic devices. That's right: gold is precious not just in jewellery but in industry too, because of its excellent resistance to corrosion and conductive properties. This is the recycled gold that we use.