Formulated as an informed response to Dispatches’ ‘Dirty Gold’ programme, the Gold Paper hits back at the notion that the jewellery industry is not taking a lead in the ethical sourcing of one of its primary raw materials.
Practices and policies used by refineries; suppliers; retailers; NGOs; and banks are all detailed in the 39-page report. The report also includes an analysis reflecting on how the UK’s current policies, both imposed and self-policed, are taking great strides to ensure gold can be traced back to a responsible source. It is also revealed that the industry still needs to shore up its claims to social and ethical sourcing with transparency, traceability, and advanced communication across the entire supply chain.
Greg Valerio, the founder of CRED Jewellery and the Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold initiatives, commented: “The guiding principles that constitute any claim regarding ethical behaviour in the jewellery trade are transparency and traceability. Without this any claim is green wash. I recommend the BJA N.A.G. Gold Report to any jeweller who is serious about moving in the right ethical direction as its recommendations are good steps towards greater transparency and traceability for our businesses and for our customers.”
These sentiments are echoed by the Birmingham Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin, who spoke of the necessity of an ethical supply chain in the UK.
“The Gold Paper is a welcome new guide from the NAG and BJA’s Ethical Committee,” he remarked.
“It gives us an informative overview of the gold supply chain and the key players, including NGO’s, active in this field. It helpfully summarises the current state of play on the definition and sources of ‘ethical’ jewellery through various different chain of custody programmes.
“Most importantly it also gives us ten recommendations to put into practice in our own businesses. These ensure we are doing the best we can to source clean gold, and that each of us in our own small way contributes to the wellbeing of poor and disadvantaged communities, and to the conservation of the precious resources of our planet.”
Simon Rainer of the BJA added: “Too often our industry is accused of being reactive. The Gold Paper is a positive step forward in communicating that we essentially work in a very responsible manner. However, there are still improvements to be made and I commend the 10 point recommendation summary to all of those wishing to learn more about the responsible sourcing of gold.”
CEO of the N.A.G. and Jewellery Focus columnist Michael Hoare said: “The plethora of initiatives in the gold supply chain can be perplexing for retailers and from the outset it was our intention to come up with some straightforward guidance that cut through the rhetoric. We strongly believe the recommendations in the report will go some way to clearing these muddied waters. These are only the first of many new steps the industry needs to take to get its house in order.
“This all depends, however, on jewellers out there taking up the baton of social responsibility and running with it.”