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20 October 2012 | Adam Leach
The World Gold Council (WGC) has launched a new standard to limit the opportunity for the valuable commodity to be used as a means to fund armed conflicts in countries where it is mined.
The Conflict-Free Gold Standard, announced this week, has been developed by the WGC in collaboration with leading gold producers, governments, civil society organisations and supply chain participants.
An introductory report on the standard, said: “Its objective is simple; to create absolute trust that the gold produced under its principles and processes is delivered in a manner which doe not fuel armed conflict or fund armed groups, nor contribute to the abuse of human rights associated with such conflicts.”
Gold miners and firms in the supply chain commit to follow a decision tree that follows best practice and benchmarking to ensure - to the highest degree - that the gold has not helped fund unethical practices. The process includes using external criteria to assess the country of origin’s risk, using external parties to provide advice and signing documentation that all steps of the process have been followed. The process mirrors process employed by organisations such as the EU and the United Nations.
In a statement to mark the launch of the standard, Aram Shishmanian, CEO of the WGC, said: “We are confident that the Conflict-Free Gold standard is robust, practical and should be fully auditable by independent third parties to ensure its integrity. It is global in scope; it takes direct account of legislative developments and we will work to ensure that it complements and integrates with other industry frameworks.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it was taking action to address the risk of conflict materials being present in its supply chain. The computing and electronics company is teaching vendors to examine each component used in products that contain tin, gold, tantalum and tungsten, and to verify that the minerals in these components are not from conflict mineral areas.