Swiss Better Gold Initiative

Switzerland, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru
Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs / Swiss Better Gold Association, 2013 - 2025

The Swiss Better Gold Initiative (SBGI) is an innovative Public-Private partnership between the Swiss government (SECO) and the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) for setting-up integrated supply chains. Through the Swiss Better Gold Initiative, Projekt-Consult has developed for the Swiss Government a successful and pioneer plan with the purpose of generating transparency, responsibility, and profitability within the gold value chain for small-scale mining. SBGI facilitates the linkage between small-scale producers and international markets, creating gold value chains from mine to market. In this way, Better Gold is a precious metal produced and exported in compliance with the mining regulations of every country, which guarantees the origin and traceability of production, including social, work, and environmental criteria. Better Gold producers have direct access to markets demanding better gold, thus they receive the best conditions for their production

Projekt-Consult is the implementing agency of the SBGI and supports the SBGA for achieving the following three outcomes:

Outcome 1) ASM are part of and benefit from responsible value-chains from mine to market

The Swiss Better Gold Initiative supports ASM mining operations by improving their technical, organizational, social and environmental practices. It also provides them general management support related to formalization and market accreditations as responsible ASM producers. Members of the SBGA (jewelers, financial institutions, watchmakers, refiners) are committed to buying the production of Swiss Better Gold. An impact premium generated by these value chain is reinvested through the Better Gold Fund into social and environmental community projects.

Outcome 2) Improved framework conditions for responsible ASM

The Swiss Better Gold Initiative provides technical support to policy-makers in the simplification of the formalization framework, a key issue for scaling-up the supply of responsibly sourced ASM gold as a pre-condition for mining operations to become responsible producers. Topics to be addressed include the development and implementation of formalization frameworks per se, climate change mitigation and adaptation, implementation of relevant environmental obligations (Minamata Convention), access to basic bank services for miners and streamlining of red tape in commercialization and export procedures.

Outcome 3) Coordinated and well disseminated good practices for responsible gold

The Swiss Better Gold Initiative encourages responsible sourcing from artisanal and small-scaled mined gold through knowledge dissemination, sharing of good practices and enhancement of transparency of the gold sector in Switzerland and abroad. Through partnerships and collaboration with identified development cooperation programs, the Initiative contributes to the development of a joint agenda for action in support of responsible ASM gold. It leverages its broad network at national, regional and international levels and develop further partnerships.

Results so far

Since the beginning of the initiative, 8’000 kg of responsibly produced ASM gold have been exported to Switzerland. The value chains proved to be stable and reliable despite suffering from the effects of COVID-19, which is based on a trustful relation between all actors. The Swiss Better Gold Initiative is highly recognized in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where the ASM gold sector is getting increased attention on the political agenda. The Initiative directly benefits 6'200 miners (30,000 indirect beneficiaries) and thanks to the initiative, a growing number of ASM become part of responsible supply chains. The project leveraged a total of USD 5,1 mio of an impact premium from the private sector that is reinvested in social & environmental and climate change projects in the mining communities.

Further information:

Website Swiss Better Gold Initiative for ASM: www.ororesponsable.org

Website SBGA: www.swissbettergold.ch