Wal-Mart, mining companies team up to trace path of jewelry supply chain
Retail giant Wal-Mart is joining with Conservation International as well as mining companies Rio Tinto and Newmont Mining to launch a pilot project that lets customers trace the path of their jewelry from mine to mega-store. Marketed as Wal-Mart’s “Love, Earth” brand jewelry, the items stand out from others in that once they’re purchased, customers can go to the Love, Earth website, plug in the tag number from their jewelry item and see what mine it came out of and the path it traveled from refiner to manufacturer to retailer. Wal-Mart has been marketing Love, Earth items as more eco-friendly, but there’s some reason to question the designation. Some of the gold used in the Love, Earth items comes from Newmont’s Nevada mines, which, among other techniques, use cyanide heap-leach mining to extract gold. Project partner Conservation International says of the practice, “Cyanide … can filter into the surrounding ground, water, and air if not properly contained.” However, despite questionable greenness at the Newmont mine, Wal-Mart maintains that a more open supply chain will eventually lead to industry improvements.