One of the goals of Closing the Loop is to make electronics recycling possible in emerging markets. To further that goal, we have co-created and signed the industry changing ‘ICSR Gold Covenant’. It was also signed by our partner Sims Recycling Solutions.
The covenant was created with other Dutch representatives of the value chain for gold, and these Dutch organisations are cooperating to ensure responsible business conduct in the international gold value chain. Today, electronics manufacturers and jewellery makers, gold recycling firms, civil society organisations and the Dutch government signed the Dutch Gold Sector International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) Agreement. Their aim is to ensure greater respect for human rights, the environment and biodiversity throughout the chain, from mining to recycling.
Closing the Loop's work to make recycling of African mobile phones possible, fits perfectly into the aims of this agreement. By running projects in Africa and Asia, we make the e-scrap 'supply chain' more transparent and legitimate. This covenant is likely to be an important step towards more recognition of recycled gold as a ‘fair’ source of the precious metal. And of more focus on the (local) recycling of e-waste in emerging markets.
Know, Show and Improve
The agreement is based on three pillars: Know, Show and Improve. Due diligence processes allow businesses to analyse whether and how they might be associated with potential abuses. Based on that knowledge, the agreement partners can draw up improvement plans ensuring that gold is responsibly sourced.
Industry organisations such as the Dutch gold and silver federation (Federatie Goud en Zilver, FGZ) and the Dutch guild of goldsmiths (Nederlands Gilde van Goudsmeden, NGG) will be drafting a code of conduct within six months. The code will help improve members’ transparency. Jewellers and gold smiths will be able to inform their customers about the origins of their gold purchases. Fairphone, Philips, Solidaridad, Stop Child Labour, UNICEF and Fairtrade are developing a project to combat child labour in small mines. Other parties are expected to join them. Closing the Loop is working in Africa on a good collection system for mobile phones to support responsible gold recycling there.
For more information about this agreement, and other ICSR agreements signed in The Netherlands, see the official website.