2020 Annual Review
Highlights Of 2020
Responsible Sourcing & Technology Virtual Summit 2020
In April 2020, LBMA launched a series of webinars and blogs to capture as much of the anticipated debate from the Responsible Sourcing & Technology Virtual Summit as possible, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. Prominent market representatives and stakeholders presented viewpoints around the challenges facing the precious metals market and explored the role of LBMA in facilitating solutions.
Responsible Sourcing Annual Report 2020
In September 2020, LBMA launched its first standalone Annual Responsible Sourcing Report. The aim of this annual report is to increase the transparency of the Responsible Sourcing Programme. It reviews the refiners’ and auditors’ performance during the previous 12 months and provides detail on the Country of Origin (CoO), where GDL refiners mine and refine gold around the world. The continuing aim is to provide information on the preceding 12 months and on how the Programme performed.
Responsible Sourcing Newsletter
In January 2020, the monthly Responsible Sourcing Newsletter was introduced to keep the precious metals industry updated on recent developments, projects and events related to responsible sourcing.
RESPONSIBLE SOURCING PERFORMANCE 2019
2019 was the first year for all Good Delivery List (GDL) refiners to implement the changes that were introduced in version 8 of the Responsible Gold Guidance (RGG). This version expanded the definition of due diligence by requiring refiners to not only assess risks identified in the OECD Due Diligence Annex II, regarding money laundering, but also to include an assessment of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities. The first round of audits for all refiners reflecting the implementation of these changes will be submitted in 2020.
In 2019, no GDL refiner was moved to the Former List for failure to comply with the Responsible Sourcing Programme. Whilst there were several escalations during the year, each one was addressed appropriately, with full co-operation from the GDL refiner in question. No zero-tolerances were reported in 2019. However, 2019 saw an overall increase in medium-risk and high-risk non-conformances for responsible gold audits. The two high-risk non-conformances for gold related to one GDL refiner and all the medium-risk non-conformances for gold related to two GDL refiners.
2019 also saw the first round of audits for GDL refiners against the Responsible Silver Guidance (RSG). As expected, some refiners had a steeper learning curve than others, in particular, those that do not also refine gold. But the overwhelming majority of refiners embraced this work as an important part of being an internationally accredited refiner.
See the Responsible Sourcing Annual Report for a breakdown of the most common types of non-conformances raised against the five steps of the RGG and RSG.
IMPLEMENTATION OF ESG REQUIREMENTS
2019 was the first year for all Good Delivery List (GDL) refiners to implement the changes that were introduced in version 8 of the Responsible Gold Guidance (RGG).
To summarise, version 8 of the RGG expanded the definition of due diligence by requiring refiners to not only assess risks identified in the OECD Due Diligence Annex II, regarding money laundering, but also to include an assessment of the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities.
Under step one, of the RGG, the refiner’s due diligence for its supply chain must include a policy that extends to ESG requirements. Under this step, refiners are asked to strengthen ESG engagement with gold-supplying counterparties and, where possible, assist gold-supply counterparties build due diligence capacities. This would also capture the use of mercury in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), with the expectation that GDL refiners assist in establishing processes to eliminate its use.
Under step two, refiners must assess the risk in the supply chain, which includes assessing the environmental policies and practices of the producers, both in relation to Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) and Large-Scale Mining (LSM). The guidance also gives more detail on this assessment, depending on the nature of the material being sourced (ASM/LSM).
Under step three, once the risks have been identified, the refiner is required to make sure it has a management strategy to respond to identified ESG risks. GDL refiners are also required to provide evidence of their sustainability policy and its effect on any associated initiatives throughout their supply chain.
Audit reports reflecting implementation of these changes will be submitted in 2020 and discussed in more detail in the next Responsible Sourcing Annual Report.
ARTISANAL AND SMALLSCALE MINING (ASM) and COVID-19 CALL TO ACTION
Over the years, there has been a growing focus on ASM, with LBMA at its 2019 annual conference in Shenzhen, announcing its ‘Call to Action’ supporting the refining of gold from responsibly mined Artisanal and Small-Scale sources.
The ASM sector employs approximately 42 million people, with more than 150 million people worldwide depend on mining to make a living.
The refining industry is highly competitive, and the amount of available, non-captive feedstock means that ASM can provide a much-needed source of refining material. It is therefore clear that support for legitimate ASM initiatives is even more critical during the Covid-19 crisis and resulting higher gold prices. LBMA published a report entitled: Emergency Support Needed for Artisanal/Small Scale Miners in June 2020, which called on “…industry, government and civil society to urgently work together to support and protect these vulnerable communities”.
LBMA is a project partner in the Responsible Artisanal Gold Solutions Forum (RAGS), which is a multi stakeholder coalition seeking to address critical barriers to the production and trade of artisanal gold from the DRC. LBMA was actively engaged in developing the CRAFT (Code of Risk mitigation for ASM engaging in Formal Trade) standard and fully supports initiatives enabling refiners to establish responsible, sustainable supply chains across all forms of mining.
LBMA has also developed an ASM Self-Assessment Questionnaire to aid refiners in their endeavours to source ASM gold.
In line with our Responsible Sourcing Strategy encouraging responsible engagement with ASM, LBMA recently joined a call to action urging the gold and jewellery industry to include ASM in their sourcing policies and practices. The greatest opportunity for the gold and jewellery industry to generate positive economic, social and environmental impact is to support artisanal and small-scale miners that are committed to reducing or eliminating mercury-use, joining the formal sector, and conforming to other responsible practices.
AUDITOR REVIEW 2019
The ongoing review and enforcement of Approved Auditor requirements are important elements for the credibility of our Programme. LBMA engages with auditors on our Approved Auditors List through training sessions and webinars, but most importantly through robust quality control.
LBMA undertakes an annual review of each auditor during which we look to make sure they remain independent and have appropriate capacity, as well as robust quality assurance procedures. As a result, we limited the geographic remit and scope of engagement for auditors on our Approved Auditor List in 2020. These measures provide an additional control to ensure that the most appropriate auditor is appointed to suit a refiner’s business model.
The 2019 review also resulted in the removal of five approved audit entities and one approved lead auditor to ensure the Approved Auditors List can continue to be relied upon to provide confidence to the market in 2020. You can view the updated Approved Auditors List for 2020 on our website.
LBMA continued to collaborate closely with the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and Responsible Jewellery Counsel (RJC) to identify opportunities for joint training of auditors. In June 2019, a full-day advanced auditor training course was held in London in conjunction with the OECD, RMI and RJC. In August 2019, LBMA launched a free interactive training module on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance developed in collaboration with the RMI and RJC.
RESPONSIBLE SOURCING STRATEGY 2020-22
The Responsible Sourcing Strategy reaffirms LBMA’s commitment to the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance with the intention to position LBMA as a leader for the continuous improvement of standards to ensure a sustainable precious metals market. LBMA has identified five focus areas, which underpin the priorities for the Responsible Sourcing Programme for the next three years. These are central to building long-term trust and credibility in the industry globally
FOCUS AREA 1: Value chain accountability – building leverage
FOCUS AREA 2: Advancing standards – defining best practice
FOCUS AREA 3: Transparency – improving disclosure and reporting
FOCUS AREA 4: Audit Programme – enhancing credibility
FOCUS AREA 5: Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) – engaging responsibly
See the Responsible Sourcing Annual Report for key actions and deliverables against our Strategy.
Throughout 2019-20, the LBMA Executive undertook extensive outreach across the world to inform, educate and engage key stakeholders on the Responsible Sourcing Programme. By attending events hosted and attended by stakeholders from across the supply chain, LBMA is not only able to raise the profile of the Programme but also gather valuable feedback.
INTERNATIONAL BULLION CENTRES – RECOMMENDATIONS
As part of our efforts to continuously improve standards, LBMA has developed recommendations for International Bullion Centres to adopt in order to support global responsible gold supply chains. The scope of the International Bullion Centres recommendations focuses on the following strategic priorities:
- responsible sourcing of recycled gold,
- controlling cash transactions and mitigating the risk of potential money laundering, and support for legitimate Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM).
LBMA will be calling on pre-identified International Bullion Centres to support five key recommendations, that will focus on effective scrutiny and verification of local and regional supply chains; effective regulation of local and regional supply chains; effective enforcement powers; effective co-operation with local, regional and international organisations; and the development of ASM specific guidance to support and further legitimate ASM supply.
DUE DILIGENCE STATEMENT
LBMA considers its commitment to due diligence as a high priority and adheres to a robust due diligence process for both current and potential new members and/or GDL refiners. LBMA has a Compliance Panel which reviews any issues that arise from the due diligence process. The ultimate decision to remove a member/GDL refiner for non-compliance with the Membership Rulebook and/or GDL Rulebook, like with the Executive Board Directors as well as the independent Non-Executive Directs (NEDs) of the Board. Elected members of the Board are not involved in any decision involved a member and/or GDL Refiner.
There is a thorough due diligence policy in place, which details the process, outlines responsibilities and accountabilities, as well as laying out a number of factors that should be considered when reviewing an application for GDL accreditation. These include, but are not limited to: money laundering, conflict financing, terrorism financing, serious human rights abuse, corruption and sanctions violations.
LBMA conducts third-party database searches on all organisations and all associated persons with significant control over the company as part of the on-boarding process. It is important that when reviewing all current and new applicants, the precious metals knowledge and industry relevant reports are taken into consideration.
This, for example, includes relevant sanctions lists, information that market practitioners might have, NGO reports and/or any other market-specific data source.
INCIDENT REVIEW PROCESS
The Incident Review Process (IRP) comprises 11 steps for LBMA to take in response to any incidents.
Any incidents or issues that may put the credibility of the GDL and the wholesale bullion market in doubt are treated very seriously. LBMA has a procedure that enables it to handle such incidents and issues in a systematic way to maintain the credibility of the Gold and Silver GDL and particularly the RSP.
This procedure is invoked in response to a particular reputational concern or event, including any incident that affects the credibility of the GDL. This is an iterative process, particularly in situations where new information is produced, or the situation escalates or deteriorates. Any public disclosure by LBMA must be approved appropriately and disseminated through correct channels. If at any point in the procedure it is established that the issue could relate to money laundering, step 6 (Refiner Contact) may be omitted and the relevant action may be taken. In certain circumstances Refiner Contact could be made much sooner.
The outcome of an IRP can involve a refiner being removed from the Good Delivery List. Other outcomes include an independent auditor developing a Corrective Action Plan for the refiner’s future activities, or a re-audit of the refiner’s activities that were originally reviewed.
Once an outcome has been agreed, LBMA will mirror its earlier communications strategy to ensure all relevant parties are informed of the decision made.
For further details regarding the IRP please refer to section 7 (pages 29-30) of LBMA’s 2020 Responsible Sourcing Annual Report.
For further information on IRP case studies please refer to page 20 of the Responsible Sourcing Annual Report.