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.