Ethical investors are assured that buying conflict-free gold will ensure their money is not funding unlawful activities or human exploitation.
The Conflict-Free Gold Standard is headed by leading gold mining firms, governments and supply chain organisations guaranteeing the source of the precious metal.
Miners following the standard assure they do not cause, support or benefit unlawful armed conflict, serious human rights abuse or breaches of international humanitarian law.
Pierre Lassonde, the member of the World Gold Council responsible for leading the development of the standard, said: “I’m proud to have led the work to design the Conflict-Free Gold Standard.
Combat misuse of gold
“The supply chain for gold is highly complex and this standard represents a major step towards eradicating gold that fuels conflict from the legitimate supply chain. It is essential that we combat any misuse of gold by militias and criminal networks.
“This has been the driving force behind the development of this Standard which will apply to conflict-affected areas globally. I am particularly pleased by the extent to which we have been able to work with governments and civil society, as well as industry partners, in devising a framework that commands wide support and credibility.”
Companies will be required to publicly report on their conformance to the standard and to supply external assurance that the disclosure is correct.
Development of the standard started before legislative initiatives to address the issue of minerals and conflict.
The standard is designed to help companies keep to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
The standard complements other initiatives, like the London Bullion Market Association’s Responsible Gold Guidance.
Ian Telfer, chairman of the World Gold Council said: “Responsible gold mining is an important contributor to both economic growth and social development in gold-producing countries. We believe that, where it is responsibly undertaken, gold mining and its related activities can play a crucial role in achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty, as well as contributing to sustained economic growth.”
The standard builds on other conflict rulings – notably the infamous ‘blood diamonds’ mined in Sierra Leone.
In December 2000, the United Nations adopted a resolution on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict, breaking the link between the illicit sale of rough diamonds to raise money to fund armed conflict.