Pressroom  >  Press Releases  >  Forest Trends and Ethical Gold Institute Partner to Support Amazonian Communities Impacted by Gold Mining
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Cheyenne Coxon

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Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative is excited to announce a new partnership with the Ethical Gold Institute to drive transparency and sustainability in the gold industry.

Illegal gold mining is a major threat to indigenous peoples and the forests they protect. Illegal gold mining in the Amazon causes widespread deforestation, biodiversity and habitat loss, and soil and water contamination from toxic pollutants, such as mercury. Erosion and sedimentation further contaminate water sources. Indigenous communities suffer the most, facing poisoned water, land encroachment, displacement, threats of physical violence, and cultural loss. Illegal mining also exacerbates other illegal activities, like logging and wildlife trafficking, by making it easier for bad actors to access the forest using roads and other infrastructure. Associated deforestation contributes to climate change, threatening both local and regional ways of life and global climate goals. Efforts to disincentivize and prevent illicit mining are crucial for preserving the Amazon and supporting its indigenous peoples.

Nonprofit gold upcycling is a beneficial alternative to the global gold industry’s current harmful business model by reducing demand for mined gold. The Ethical Gold Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works to raise awareness about the harmful impacts of gold mining and provide support for nonprofits through gifted gold property.

The new partnership between Forest Trends and the Ethical Gold Institute will kickstart a new value chain where donated gold jewelry is converted into new charitable funding, initiating a new source of ethically upcycled gold. It will also channel new funding to Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative to support Amazonian indigenous populations suffering due to illegal gold mining.

A recent influx of gold miners has put immense pressure on Brazil’s Yanomami indigenous community, in particular, exacerbating longstanding tensions and environmental degradation in the region. As illegal gold mining activities surge, fueled by rising gold prices and the government’s inability to stop it, the Yanomami people endure increased violence and land encroachment that further threaten their health, livelihoods, and cultural heritage. Despite efforts by indigenous leaders and activists to raise awareness and demand government intervention, the situation remains dire, highlighting the urgent need for effective measures to protect indigenous rights and enforce environmental regulations.

The Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative has over 20 years of experience working directly with communities to counter these exact threats to indigenous rights, territories, and ways of life. Gold donations accepted on Forest Trends’ behalf by the Ethical Gold Institute will be carefully assessed and publicly sold. Eighty percent of the proceeds will go directly to the Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative to benefit forest communities and advance global climate goals.

Nicia Coutinho, a member of the Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative with almost 20 years of experience supporting Brazil’s indigenous populations, says: “I was happy to find this simple solution to renew unused jewelry. I did not want to sell to gold buyers. I encourage people to donate their spare jewelry to benefit Forest Trends’ conservation program that sets up and protects indigenous territories in Brazil, which is tremendously honorable work.”

Michael Scott, President of the Ethical Gold Institute, says: “We’re grateful and honored to partner with Forest Trends and support its mission. The Ethical Gold Institute adheres to the highest ethical standards and ensures public accountability.”

Beto Borges, Director of Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, says: “Ethical Gold is another powerful market-based economic instrument that Forest Trends helped launch, and we’re confident in its success.”


Please join this mission to protect the Amazon forest and support its defenders by donating any unneeded gold property here. Thank you for helping Forest Trends build a more ethical and sustainable future for the Amazon and its peoples.

Forest Trends works to conserve forests and other ecosystems through the creation and wide adoption of a broad range of environmental finance, markets, and other payment and incentive mechanisms. Our Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative partners with indigenous and other forest communities on innovations to secure their rights, livelihoods, and cultures through a strategy built on advocacy, economic self-determination, and cultural integrity.