15. December 2020

Basel Gold Day: 4 golden opportunities to collectively raise standards in gold supply chains

Basel Gold Day flyer excerpt

Gold industry experts from across the private and non-profit sectors came together at Basel Gold Day on 9 October 2020 to explore perspectives on the challenges of ensuring responsible and sustainable gold supply chains.

The event was organised by Professor Mark Pieth, President of the Basel Institute on Governance and author of the book Gold Laundering (Goldwäsche).

Key points

Despite very different backgrounds, priorities and expertise, panellists converged around several important points related to responsible and sustainable supply chains in the gold industry:

1. There is clear consumer demand for "clean" or "ethical" gold, but this demand alone will not be enough to drive real change in the industry. More is needed in terms of education, incentives and collective efforts.

2. Transparency and communication are essential to demonstrating progress and managing expectations. Tools to this end – like audits, public disclosure and customer education campaigns – could all benefit from being developed or improved through Collective Action or other forms of partnership.

There was wide agreement that further thinking towards new and additional forms of Collective Action, bringing together all key stakeholders, i.e. governments, companies, industry associations and civil society organisations, could help with tackling the challenges of supply chain due diligence for the gold industry.

3. Weak implementation of authoritative standards such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains and its Supplement on Gold is behind many of the human rights and environmental risks in gold supply chains. 

Some argue that detailed traceability and strong verification mechanisms, though difficult to achieve in practice, are needed.

4. Artisanal mining can play an important role in sustaining the livelihoods of around 100 million people and in generating revenues of an estimated USD 20 billion per year for developing countries. Yet the informal nature of artisanal mining is a barrier to acceptance by responsible refineries seeking to demonstrate maximum transparency and traceability of their supply chains.

There is a clear role for Collective Action to join up the efforts of all stakeholders to improve conditions for small-scale miners and facilitate their access to legal markets.

More information

Find more details about the event on the website of Mark Pieth, plus a more detailed summary of the workshop. An in-person, more in-depth workshop is planned for 2021.