In 2012, the World Gold Council launched the Conflict-Free Gold Standard. At the time, there had been concern 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 conflict is very low, responsible mining should put processes in place to make sure that neither they, nor the gold they produce, are contributing to the conflict. Ceasing operations entirely, however, could accentuate the crisis for communities in conflict areas by denying them legitimate livelihoods and economic opportunities.

The standard is based upon internationally-recognised benchmarks and helps companies to provide assurance that their gold is not contributing to conflict. 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 Conflict-Free Gold Standard has been incorporated into the Responsible Gold Mining Principles as part of Principle 5.4.

Guidance for Assurance Providers

​​Conformance with the Conflict-Free Gold Standard will be externally assured. The Guidance for Assurance Providers sets out guidance to practitioners who have been engaged to report in, with recognised assurance standards, on whether a company’s Conflict-Free Gold Report is prepared in accordance with the Standard. 

Guidance for Implementing Companies

The Guidance for Implementing Companies aims to serve as a helpful reference guide to any implementing company and includes a range of tools and reference materials which companies may draw on, according to their individual needs and circumstances.

The World Gold Council conflict-free gold standard®: Building an industry coalition to address the challenges of conflict gold

15 November, 2017 

In 2017, Cranfield School of Management and the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School launched a joint report examining the creation of The World Gold Council’s Conflict-Free Gold Standard®. The report provides an important case study for Corporate Responsibility Coalitions and trade associations looking to develop common standards and self-regulatory mechanisms.

The report’s findings include the need for Corporate Responsibility Coalitions and trade associations to demonstrate:

  • Top-level and sustained commitment by individual business leaders and their companies.
  • Widespread stakeholder engagement and meaningful consultation.
  • Identification and inclusion of advice from credible, third-party technical experts.
  • Effective ecosystem-mapping and co-ordination with other relevant initiatives.
  • Credible, independent third-party convenors to facilitate stakeholder dialogue.