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Aligning the Fairtrade Standard with conflict-minerals requirements

Aligning the Fairtrade Standard with conflict-minerals requirements

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Challenge: updating the Fairtrade Standard for Gold in line with new requirements

In 2014, the Fairtrade Standard for Gold needed to be aligned with new requirements and regulations around due diligence and conflict minerals, particularly the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. This alignment was crucial in order to protect and unlock markets for Fairtrade gold producers, and to help miners, traders and downstream buyers demonstrate their conformance with the new requirements.

Once the standard was revised, miners and traders operating or planning to operate under the Fairtrade Standards for Gold needed an in-depth understanding of what these new due diligence and conflict minerals requirements meant for them in practice.

Solution: a two-phased approach

Levin Sources supported Fairtrade International to address these challenges in a two-phased approach.

The first was to design and implement a process for updating and revising the Fairtrade Standard for Gold and associated Precious Metals. This involved a thorough review of a variety of conflict minerals and due diligence initiatives, standards and requirements, and providing suggestions for how the standard should be revised and aligned. The changes were then put to public consultation. Levin Sources supported the Fairtrade Standard Unit to manage this process, integrating the comments and feedback into the revised standard. Once the revised standard was approved, Levin Sources then developed practical toolkits, checklists, and training modules for artisanal and small-scale mining organisations (ASMOs) and Fairtrade producer support units, to ensure that the revisions to the standard could be operationalised by the end of 2014.

For the second phase, Levin Sources developed and delivered training for the mining organisations and traders, enabling them to understand and comply with the revised requirements in light of their upcoming audits. This involved engaging with trainers to determine their capacity and knowledge needs, and then developing specific guidance and supporting tools responding to these gaps. In-person training was then held in Nairobi with representatives of east African ASMOs and local support organisations.

Results: maintaining Fairtrade producers’ access to markets

The Fairtrade Standard for Gold was revised and aligned with conflict minerals and due diligence requirements, in particular the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. Producers working under the Fairtrade Gold scheme were equipped with the knowledge and tools to comply with these new requirements. This helped to maintain Fairtrade gold producers’ access to international gold markets.

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