The WGC is a weighty player. Its 33 members represent the majority of the global industrial gold sector and produce a total of more than 1,300 tons of gold per year. By disclosing these business relationships, the umbrella organization aims to promote transparency in the global gold trade. SWISSAID welcomes this step as it increases the responsibility of the various players and contributes to better practices.
The disclosure of the identity of business partners will have a direct impact on the Swiss refining industry: Four of the nine largest gold refineries in the world are located in Switzerland. In the future, their names will appear in all reports of WGC member companies with which they have business relationships. This is despite the fact that some had previously refused to make this information public. So some refiners will no longer be able to put pressure on WGC mining companies not to disclose their names, thus preventing the refiners from being associated with possible abuses. In other words, they will be forced to take responsibility.
SWISSAID had criticized this lack of transparency in its last Report on the trade in African industrial gold. Transparency is an important contribution to improving the situation of the workers, as well as the local population. It is they who live near the mines and all too often suffer human rights violations and environmental damage.
In its report, SWISSAID made several recommendations, including that the industry should commit to greater transparency. The WGC’s decision is a step in the right direction and must convince other refineries to also commit to more transparent standards.