Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 19 June 2017 – Today, Fairphone joins representatives from the electronics and jewelry sectors, trade associations, NGOs and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to sign the ‘Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct of Companies in the Netherlands with Gold or Gold Bearing Materials in their Value Chains’ (Covenant for Responsible Gold).
This agreement represents a commitment to improving every step of the gold supply chain, from mining to recycling, with a focus on human rights and the environment. To put the principles of the gold covenant into practice, Fairphone has partnered with Philips and leading NGOs to develop a supply chain for responsibly sourced gold from Uganda.
A pledge to improve the sourcing of gold
Gold mining is plagued with a wide range of social and environmental problems, from dangerous working conditions and child labor to pollution and toxic waste. These issues can be especially pronounced in artisanal and small-scale mines (ASM), which often lack the oversight and regulations of larger-scale mining operations. In addition, the gold trade has also been associated with financing armed conflict in certain parts of the world.
The Covenant for Responsible Gold is a progressive step towards raising awareness and addressing the issues within the gold supply chain in the Netherlands and beyond. In line with Fairphone’s approach to drive change in the electronics industry, the covenant focuses on increasing transparency throughout the gold value chain, implementing OECD due diligence guidelines and creating positive impact on the ground. At today’s event in Nieuwspoort in The Hague, this voluntary agreement is signed by a variety of parties with an interest in the gold sector, including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FNV, CNV, Fairphone, Philips, Closing the Loop, and the Dutch Gold and Silver Federation (FGZ), as well as importers and recyclers.
Joint forces to tackle child labor - from gold mines to the electronics supply chain
To put the high-level goals of the covenant into concrete action, Fairphone has created a special partnership with other gold covenant signatories. Together with Philips, HIVOS/SCL, UNICEF, Solidaridad and Fairtrade International, they have agreed to collaboratively develop activities to improve working conditions in ASM and to set up a more responsible gold supply chain.
The partners will work with an existing mine in Uganda, with a specific focus on eliminating child labor. The resulting gold from this mine will be integrated into Fairphone and Philips’ supply chains to create an economic incentive and ensure a sustainable market for more responsibly mined gold.
The partnership is already underway and activities in Uganda will commence in the coming months. While this partnership was initially created with the electronics sector in mind, the overall goal is to provide a clear example of what can be achieved by aligning with the Coenant for Responsible Gold. The partners intend to evaluate and share the final results so that this initiative can be replicated in other industries and supply chains and industries.
According to Monique Lempers, Value Chain Director at Fairphone: “Fairphone was built on the belief that minerals need to be sourced more responsibly. We look forward to undertaking this new challenge with an inspiring group of partners to demonstrate how we can collaboratively create a positive impact in the gold supply chain.”
Supply chain improvement is a collaborative effort
The Covenant for Responsible Gold and aforementioned partnership are starting points for creating a positive impact in the gold supply chain, but lasting change requires an ongoing, collaborative approach. Fairphone warmly invites all interested parties to show their commitment by signing the Covenant for Responsible Gold as well. Finally, any companies or organizations interested in joining the partnership or learning more about integrating fair gold into their supply chains can contact Fairphone directly.
Note to the editor
Fairphone is a social enterprise that is building a movement for fairer electronics. By making a phone, we’re opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. We’re making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with our community, we’re changing the way products are made. Fairphone has developed the Fairphone 2, which is the world's first modular smartphone. It is easy to open and repair, which gives users the opportunity to keep it for longer. To date more than 130.000 Fairphones were sold in the european market.
More information on our previous work on gold here
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