A call to end the global trade in tainted gold on the London market

Amidst growing claims of greenwashing and calls for responsible sourcing, NGO groups raise concerns about the LBMA’s gold certification programme

Ahead of a gold sector Sustainability & Responsible Sourcing Summit this week, RAID joins eight civil society groups in writing to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the co-host of the summit, raising serious concerns about its oversight and certification of ‘responsible gold’. Over $325 billion of gold from LBMA’s ‘Good Delivery’ refiners is traded on the London market each week.

Drawing on their reporting across cases in 17 countries, the groups signing the letter say they are increasingly concerned tainted gold is entering the supply-chain and that the LBMA needs to take action.

“Numerous research reports from civil society organisations and the media have demonstrated that many on the LBMA’s Good Delivery List (GDL) are sourcing gold from questionable suppliers and mines and are not addressing the serious human rights violations and environmental degradation that continue to take place,” the groups said.

They further highlight that “instead of reducing the risks for affected communities and Indigenous peoples, and providing access to remedy when problems are identified, the [Responsible Gold Guidance] and ensuing Responsible Gold Certificates could serve as a form of ‘greenwashing’ rather than having a positive impact on the often very poor communities, workers and natural environments that have experienced significant harm as a result of mining operations.”

Key problems with the LBMA’s responsible sourcing programme are highlighted in the letter – from neglecting to engage with those harmed, a lack of transparency over problematic suppliers and the origin of gold, ineffective auditing, a flawed complaints process, a failure to call out and sanction misconduct, and a loophole which allows illegally mined gold to be ‘greenwashed’ as ‘recycled’.

Alongside the concerns raised, the groups set-out recommendations for the LBMA to take on board.

The groups also draw attention to the refusal of the LBMA’s application to be recognised as meeting requirements under the key EU Conflict Minerals Regulation. The NGOs signing the letter said that they believed no such recognition should be granted until there are substantial improvements in the LBMA’s own Responsible Gold Guidance.

Read the letter here.

To see RAID’s work on the LBMA and our complaints about gold sourced from Barrick’s North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania, as well as our ongoing research on this mine, click here.