In recent years, we’ve seen more focus from consumers and investors trying to understand if the gold that they buy has been responsibly produced and sourced. The increased demand for responsibly and sustainably sourced products has been a broad trend across all sectors. For gold, attention has been focused on approaches in place to support responsible gold mining and adherence to responsible business practices along the entire gold supply chain.

Responsible Gold Mining Principles

In 2019, we launched the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), a framework that sets out clear expectations for consumers, investors, and the gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining.

The RGMPs are intended to recognise and consolidate existing standards and instruments under a single framework. A number of leading standards already exist that address specific aspects of responsible gold mining, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative . However, prior to the development of the RGMPs, there was no single coherent framework that addressed all aspects of responsible gold mining.

During the development of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles, we undertook extensive external consultation with a broad range of stakeholders globally.

In order to provide further confidence to purchasers of gold that the gold they buy is responsibly mined and sourced, companies implementing the RGMPs will be required to publicly disclose their conformance and obtain external assurance from an independent provider on this disclosure.

Conformance with the Responsible Gold Mining Principles is a membership requirement for all World Gold Council members. The RGMPs are open to be used by all gold mining companies and we encourage wide-spread adoption across the sector.

More information on the RGMPs, including guidance on implementation and assurance, as well as equivalency benchmarks with other mining standards, can be found within Industry Standards.

Conflict-Free Gold

In 2012, the World Gold Council launched the Conflict-Free Gold Standard (CFGS) This was developed in response to concerns about potential links between gold and unlawful armed conflict, such as civil wars and militia activity. Although the proportion of newly mined gold that is tainted by the involvement in such conflict is extremely low, responsible mining operations should put processes in place to make sure that neither they, nor the gold they produce, are contributing to the conflict.

The CFGS, which has now been incorporated into the Responsible Gold Mining Principles, is based on internationally recognised benchmarks. The Standard helps to “operationalise” the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains for Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. The CFGS, like the RGMPs, was developed through an intensive consultation process.

More information on the CFGS, including a case study produced jointly by the Cranfield School of Management and the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, please visit our Industry Standards.

Ensuring Transparency

The economics of investing in gold production are complex and mining is a long-term commitment. Gold is scarce and the vast majority of exploration activity by gold mining companies does not find commercially viable quantities of gold. Once a suitable ore body is identified, it generally takes at least ten years to develop a large-scale gold mine.

Better understanding of these life-cycle economics will allow all stakeholders to work together to maximise mining operations’ development potential.

All-In Sustaining Costs and All-In Costs

The Guidance Note on Non-GAAP Metrics – all-in sustaining costs and all-in costs was first developed by the World Gold Council in collaboration with its Members in 2013.

It has since been updated in 2018 in light of new accounting standards and to support further consistency of application.

These non-GAAP metrics have helped provide greater clarity and improve investor understanding and can be used by gold miners as part of their overall reporting disclosure. All companies involved in gold-mining are encouraged to use these metrics, which can help all stakeholders in the mining value chain better understand the impact of gold mining and its associated economics.

Both guidance notes along with FAQs can be found in our Industry Standards page.