Gold in business: how can you ensure your product materials are ethically obtained?

As a society, we value ethical trading, so it’s never been more important for business owners to operate with transparency in mind. Historically, some product materials have been more problematic than others when it comes to promoting unethical practices, such as gold and other precious metals, which can have a far-reaching impact on both human lives and the environment.

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Despite issues of exploitation, dangerous working conditions and conflict in mining, we still rely on these materials for many of our goods. So, as human rights become an increasing concern for consumers, how can you ensure your gold is ethically obtained?

Look for Fairmined certified gold

This certification is given to gold that has been obtained from small-scale and artisanal mining operations. In order to get the certification, producers have to prove that they’ve met responsible mining standards and regulations, such as ensuring safe working conditions and fair pay for their workers, as well as limiting damage done to the environment. This is essentially the goal of the Fairmined certification: to ensure that mining projects uphold their commitment to social and environmental protection, and provide economic development opportunities for local mining communities. The certification has gone a long way in improving gold mining standards – one study found that workers in Fairmined mines reported higher wellbeing levels than those who worked at non-certified mines.

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Fairmined gold is traceable, and is backed by independent third-party certification systems who conduct regular audits to ensure that the mines meet the strict standards set upon them. The Alliance for Responsible Mining also visits Fairmined certified mines regularly, to monitor their practices and promote continuous improvement. 

Promote supply chain transparency and traceability

While certifications are a good indicator that your gold supply has been ethically produced, no business should rely entirely on another company to ensure ethical standards are being met. So, it’s important to conduct your own audits, and implement traceability systems to ensure that you’re in the know when it comes to the processes that are used throughout your supply chain.

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Audits and traceability systems make it easier for business owners to monitor exactly what happens to their gold, from sourcing through to production. An extra pair of eyes on these processes means that you’re much more likely to spot any gaps early on, and ensures that you have more control over the way your gold is obtained.

Be wary of recycled gold

Purchasing recycled gold can be more eco-friendly, but unless you know exactly where and how that gold was mined, you can’t guarantee that it was produced ethically. Using recycled gold that has been mined unethically will encourage the company that you have purchased it from to continue engaging in unethical mining practices, so it’s best to choose Fairmined gold over recycled gold wherever possible.

A proactive approach

Above all else, proactivity is key when it comes to ensuring that you’re purchasing from ethical vendors. Take responsibility to know where your gold comes from, and oversee each stage of the supply chain wherever you can – by learning to recognise certifications and implementing systems that allow for transparency, business owners can rest assured that they’re purchasing gold that has been ethically obtained. 

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