The Swiss Better Gold Association 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 Swiss Better Gold Association 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 is a core principle of the Swiss Better Gold Association 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 Swiss Better Gold' sourcing criteria. This progressive approach is known as the Swiss Better Gold Continuous Improvement Escalator.
Swiss Better Gold Continuous Improvement Escalator
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 Swiss Better Gold Association has identified the following incentives for ASM:
Access to Swiss Better Gold Association Members Market
For many artisanal and small-scale producers, having access to Swiss Better Gold Association's members’ value chains brings greater economic benefits as association members offer better trade conditions.
Technical Assistance by Swiss Better Gold Initiative
Supported by the Swiss Better Gold Association and SECO funds, the Swiss Better Gold Initiative's teams reach many small-scale mining operations with the potential and willingness to become part of the Better Gold programme and fulfil the Swiss Better Gold sourcing criteria with due support from said teams on the ground.
Co-Financing Community Development
The Swiss Better Gold Association 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 Swiss Better Gold Association implementing partners, such as Swiss Better Gold Initiative, continuously monitor the progress of ASM operators, maintain records of performance and report to the association secretariat. Secondly, a series of verification “events” by independent Swiss Better Gold verifiers trigger accreditation of ASM producers at different steps of the Escalator by the association secretariat.
Better Gold incentive system
As an industry association, the Swiss Better Gold Association has always remained pragmatic and rational in its approach. The association members have collectively developed a sustainable self-funding incentive approach where each USD per gram incentive generated through purchases of Swiss Better Gold is reinvested in ASGM production via technical, social and environmental development projects on the ground, and also used to finance verification costs.