Together with seven partner organizations, SWISSAID is using the 2024 Summit on Sustainability and Responsible Procurement in London (20-22 March 2024) as an opportunity to draw attention to serious shortcomings: Gold from questionable suppliers and mines, where serious human rights violations and environmental destruction occur, is still finding its way into global trade, including Switzerland! The problems range from money laundering and water pollution to serious damage to health and deaths. This is possible because the certification of the international standard of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is too lax.

Three years have passed since SWISSAID publicly criticized the LBMA standard. However, there has been no significant improvement to date. SWISSAID is calling on the LBMA to tighten up its standards. Human rights violations and environmental damage must be prevented.

In a public letter, SWISSAID, together with Fastenaktion, Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Amazon Watch, DKA Austria, Earthworks, Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), calls on the LBMA to urgently address the following points:

  1. Regular and transparent reporting on compliance and working conditions in the mines.
  2. Disclosure of the entire supply chain and transparency regarding any risks.
  3. Disclosure of the exact origin of the gold
  4. Reduce conflicts of interest by diversifying the LBMA Board of Directors: Currently, the LBMA Board of Directors consists of senior executives from refineries, banks and financial institutions and mining companies.
  5. Publicize all proceedings resulting from complaints or incidents at the mines.
  6. Improve the quality of audits.
  7. Disclose the results of audits.
  8. Guarantee the independence of auditors.
  9. Tighten due diligence requirements for recycled gold.

The SWISSAID gold study “Out of the shadows” has shown that more transparency is possible in the gold sector. The research shows that human rights and environmental problems are the main reason for the lack of transparency of most refineries with regard to their sources of supply in the mines. This makes it all the more important to tighten up the certification process in order to avoid this.

In a letter dated April 14, 2024, the LBMA responded to civil society organizations. Its letter can be viewed here.