Concerned with potential links between gold and humanitarian conflict in politically unstable geographic areas, the World Gold Council (in conjunction with consultation from every point in the gold supply chain and foreign governments) created the Conflict-Free Gold Standard in 2012. The CFGS is a common approach by which gold producers can assess and provide assurance that their gold has been extracted in a manner that does not cause, support, benefit or contribute to human rights abuses, breaches of international humanitarian law, or unlawful armed conflict. In other words, this operational framework helps ensure that this critical resource is collected safely, legally, and ethically.
Similar to “blood diamonds,” the gold industry getting mixed up in civil conflict is a huge issue. Fortunately, the Conflict-Free Gold Standard (which builds on other efforts like environmental and health and safety standards) provides a transparent methodology that reassures refiners, buyers, and even everyday-consumers that the gold they’re dealing with hasn’t contributed to human rights abuses. But it’s not just the gold industry that benefits – regions where the gold is sourced also benefit.
For countries with human rights issues and/or violence, these problems are not usually encompassing the entire country. Rather than avoiding the country entirely, companies can follow the Conflict-Free Gold Standard to ensure that they work in the country and contribute to its economy without contributing to armed conflict or human rights abuses. When responsibly undertaken, gold mining and refining can have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of countries in the form of:
- employment opportunities
- tax revenues
- improved infrastructure
- increased foreign direct investment and foreign exchange
In our next blog post, we’ll explain how the Conflict-Free Gold Standard provides guidance for companies on how to mine gold responsibly around the world.