Our approach

The SBGA is a pioneering network of industry, finance and other service providers which support the creation of responsible gold value chains from mine to market.

The SBGA takes the following approach:

  • Accept only metal originating from accredited responsible ASM sources
  • Achieve shorter supply chains and facilitate direct exports for ASM gold producers
  • Mobilise stakeholders along the supply chain to establish and improve their efficiency
  • Promote environmental and social improvements locally through the Better Gold Fund (BGF)
  • Identify member-funded projects that enable faster ASM improvement

Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement is a core principle of the SBGA and one that is fundamental to its success. Participating artisanal and small-scale mining operations are incentivised to continuously improve their practices and, step-by-step, demonstrate conformance with the SBGA’s sourcing criteria. This progressive approach is known as the Swiss Better Gold Continuous Improvement Escalator.

Swiss Better Gold Continuous Improvement Escalator

Escalator chart

The Swiss Better Gold Continuous Improvement Escalator has three steps which go from the selection of eligible ASM producers; supporting these producers to make social and environmental improvements and meet SBGA sourcing criteria and, for producers that wish to gain entry to specialist markets, a third optional step of certification by a voluntary sustainability standard body such as the Responsible Jewellery Council, Fair Trade International or Fairmined.

Each step of this Continuous Improvement Escalator is linked to a specific incentive which encourages miners and panners to continue to work towards better practices and improve their organisational capacity, as well as mine more productively, efficiently, safely and cleanly. For that purpose, the SBGA has identified the following incentives for ASM:

Access to SBGA Members Market

For many artisanal and small-scale producers, having access to SBGA members’ value chains brings greater economic benefits as SBGA members offer better trade conditions.

Technical Assistance by BGI for ASM

Supported by the SBGA and SECO funds, the BGI teams reach many small-scale mining operations with the potential and willingness to become part of the Better Gold programme and fulfil the SBGA sourcing criteria with due support from said  teams on the ground.

Co-Financing Community Development

The SBGA offers eligible small-scale mining operations co-funding for community development projects that contribute to the social and/or environmental development of their mining communities.


The performance of ASGM producers is tracked and reported in two ways. Firstly, the SBGA implementing partners, such as BGI, continuously monitor the progress of ASM operators, maintain records of performance and report to the SBGA Secretariat. Secondly, a series of verification “events” by independent SBGA verifiers trigger accreditation of ASM producers at different steps of the Escalator by the SBGA Secretariat.


Better Gold incentive system

As an industry association, the SBGA has always remained pragmatic and rational in its approach. The SBGA members have collectively developed a sustainable self-funding incentive approach where each USD per gram incentive generated through purchases of Better Gold is reinvested in ASGM production via technical, social and environmental development projects on the ground, and also used to finance verification costs.

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