While gold mining is an extractive industry with a direct impact on the environment, responsible gold miners seek to mitigate physical risks, and demonstrate high levels of performance against a wide range of environmental and social factors. Responsible and sustainable business practices are underpinned by good governance. As well as being the right thing to do, responsible business practices also lead to better business outcomes

In order to instil confidence, clearly define expected best practices, and to show transparency in how responsible gold miners operate, in 2019 the World Gold Council (WGC) launched the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs). The RGMPs represent a framework which clearly sets out expectations as to what constitutes responsible gold mining. They include 51 principles looking at all material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors associated with gold mining. These include water management, climate change, gender diversity, anti-bribery and community engagement and many more which, taken together, reflect a comprehensive view of the material risks and opportunities shaping modern gold mining and its wider impacts.

The RGMPs were developed and refined after intensive consultation with over 200 participants, spanning two years, with civil society, investors, community leaders, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders.

Conformance with the RGMPs requires implementing companies to obtain external assurance on their public disclosure, in a similar way to assurance on their financial statements.

All Members of the World Gold Council, the world’s leading, most forward-thinking gold mining companies are committed to the RGMPs, and this is mandatory for WGC membership. However, the RGMPs are designed to be used by all gold mining companies and are increasingly being adopted across the sector.

Moving along the gold supply chain, most gold from a mine site is transferred - in doré form – to refiners accredited by the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association). The LBMA issued the Responsible Gold Guidance which sets out the responsible sourcing requirements for these refiners; conformance is mandatory and is independently assured. This offers investors and consumers a high degree of confidence in the provenance and integrity of their gold.

In the jewellery sector, many brands are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council and adhere to their Code of Practice, which covers responsible sourcing for the jewellery fabricators and retails.

To learn more around responsible sourcing please visit gold.org