WGC joins the Responsible Minerals Initiative

When you buy a consumer product that comes with the label “responsibly sourced”, what exactly is behind that statement? This is at the heart of the mission of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) which the World Gold Council recently joined as an association member.

The RMI was founded in 2008 by a group of electronic companies in the US as “responsible sourcing” in the minerals and metals supply chain was emerging as a major consumer and regulatory issue. Since then, the RMI has expanded into a globally respected organisation, with over 400 engaged members across nine industry, including household names such as Google, Apple, BMW, Tata Motors, Tesla and Johnson and Johnson.

 

The main thrust of RMI’s activities is to facilitate a system of independent, 3rd party audits of smelters and refiners. These actors in the supply chain are considered the “pinch-points” or consolidators in the mineral and metals supply chain. Focusing responsible sourcing audits on these organisations is the most efficient way to help downstream companies comply with a growing list of responsible sourcing regulations, which include the Dodd Frank 1502 in the US, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance on Responsible Supply Chains, and the recently launched EU Conflict Minerals regulations.

Active participation in the RMI provides a unique channel for the WGC to engage with downstream companies who use gold in their products, whether they be in the electronics, automotive or manufacturing industries. Our membership in RMI also provides the opportunity to further highlight the importance of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (link) and how conformance can effectively demonstrate a high level of ESG performance at the very start of the supply chain. The robust nature of the third-party assurance and disclosure requirements - vital to the credibility and independence of the RGMP – will not only help companies comply with their due diligence obligations, but also further build confidence in the downstream gold supply chain.

 

The RMI has a specific tool, called the Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA), to assist downstream companies assess the relevance and applicability of different upstream mining standards based on their own evaluation of “Industry Norms”. A recent independent assessment of the RGMPs confirmed a high level of alignment with the RMI’s “Industry Norms” - not surprising given the extensive consultation that went into the development of the RGMPs. The results of the RMI’s evaluation, along with the results of similar assessment of other industry frameworks, can be found in the Equivalency Benchmark Results on the RMI website. The RGMPs are “fully equivalent” with 29 of the 31 Industry Norms and partially equivalency with the remaining three, which will lend further credibility to the RGMPs as a strong system for verifying responsible gold production.