The Enough Project is calling on jewellery companies to “develop transparent policies about their gold sourcing practices” as part of efforts to prevent funds going to armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The pressure group, which campaigns against violence in Africa, also wants firms to commit to sourcing the metal only from certified conflict-free refiners and to invest in initiatives promoting conflict-free gold.
In a report the charity said gold with an estimated value of between $383 million to $409 million (£243 million to £260 million) was smuggled out of the Congo in 2013, and “much of that gold benefits armed commanders”.
The Enough Project said jewellery made up 45 per cent of global gold demand and Tiffany and Co and Signet Jewelers had “demonstrated clear leadership in beginning to address the conflict gold issue by taking proactive steps to set up supply chain controls”.
The report said: “Violence has been raging in eastern Congo for almost two decades, fuelled in part by the region’s lucrative natural resources. Leadership among jewellery retailers can help break the link between gold and violence in Congo.
“Tiffany and Signet have demonstrated the powerful beneficial impact jewellers can have in improving the gold supply chain, but much more is needed.”
The Enough Project also wants firms to join conflict-free sourcing groups and invest in community development programmes.