Swiss legislation regarding processing precious metals and dealing in them is the strictest in the world. Our members are supervised by the Swiss Precious Metal Supervisory Authority. In an effort to protect the industry and consumers against forgery, Swiss precious metal supervisors (Sworn Assayers) carry out individual inspections to determine the purity content. In addition, our members are subject to Swiss Federal Law concerning the fight against money laundering in the FINMA [Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority] trading field.
Our members trust the principle of “knowing your client”. This principle is applied and implemented throughout the supply chain, both by binding national and international legislation and by a self-imposed code of conduct.
Our members take their industrial social responsibility very seriously. They continuously investigate and review their business practices in order to achieve the highest standards in the areas of environment, social factors, politics and human rights. In addition, they play an active part in national and international committees, on the one hand to manage natural resources in a responsible manner and on the other to meet the highest requirements in the field of ethics and human rights across the whole supply chain.
The differing standards have the same goal, but target different industry sectors. The “Conflict-Free Gold Standard” of the Worldwide Gold Council is directed towards mining companies, while the “Responsible Gold Guidance” of the LBMA targets processors and the “Chain of Custody Standard” of the RJC ensures avoidance of child labour, along with social and environmentally-friendly processes in the mining sector.
Some of our members support the “Better Gold Initiative” (BGI) which is a private-public partnership between the “Swiss Better Gold Association” (SBGA) and the State Secretariat for the Economy SECO. The initiative implements the OECD’s recommendations which are not legally binding. Here “due diligence” in the gold supply chain is brought to the fore. The BGi’s main goal is sustainable development of small mining co-operatives. The aim is to promote transparency and traceability in gold products.
All the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) gold refiners must meet the criteria of Responsible Gold Guidance, which is based on the OECD recommendations relating to due diligence in the supply chain for minerals. Adherence to the guidelines is checked independently in order to maintain high standards in the fight against money laundering and to effectively counter the sources of finance for terrorism.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has developed its own Code of Practice which assesses both work standards (following the ILO) and ethical standards, as well as adherence to human rights in the workplace in member companies and certifies them using third party audits.
The RJC chain of custody deals with procurement of raw material for processing on members’ premises. This comprises the ethical and ecological aspects of the origin, or more precisely, of the firms which mine the raw material, such as a mining company, for instance, along with the assessment and certification of the conflict-free origin of the material.
We work closely with the Swiss authorities at an international, national and cantonal level to increase the transparency and traceability of our products.
Our members are extremely interested in strict regulation of the Swiss precious metal industry because this will increase the reputation of the whole sector and its competitiveness.