The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) has started an unexpected collaboration with Fairphone – the Dutch social enterprise building a market for ethical smartphones.

Fairphone has decided to partner with Fairmined – the initiative that connects certified responsible miners with gold buyers – to ensure the positive social and environmental impact of their gold sourcing.

In December 2022, Fairphone became the first company to buy Fairmined credit, guaranteeing certified miners a premium regardless of where they sold their certified gold – ensuring the efforts of Fairmined certified miners are fully recognized.

This collaboration also makes Fairphone the first electronics company to become part of the Fairmined initiative.

For small certified mines, this incentive offers key benefits, as they often face higher barriers to market entry and greater difficulty in receiving fair remuneration for their work.

Fairmined Credits offer the gold industry a flexible way to make an economic, social and environmental contribution in responsible small mining communities.

This helps advance the production of responsible ASM gold without the need to physically source resources or make changes to downstream brands’ existing supply chains.

Positive engagement in the ASM sector is recommended by OECD due diligence guidelines, RJC, LBMA, RMI, WGC, IRMA, EITI and others.

Morgane Nzelemona, Head of Sustainable Markets at the Alliance for Responsible Mining, said: “This first collaboration is a great success for our initiative as it proves that new players in the gold industry can collaborate with the ASM sector and contribute to its transformation .

“We hope that the Fairmined credits will help accelerate electronics industry engagement and that more stakeholders will follow Fairphone’s inspiring example.”

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Fairphone was founded in 2013 to manufacture smartphones that motivate the electronics industry to address both social and environmental issues in the electronics supply chain. Since then, Fairphone has become a laboratory experimenting with fairer practices that could be replicated on a global scale.

Gold is used in the manufacture of smartphones and speakers and is therefore at the heart of Fairphone’s search for fairer materials.

Fairphone’s desire to fully integrate artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) gold was challenged by the complexity of the company’s supply chain.

This limitation has resulted in only select components being made from ASM certified gold.

With Fairmined Credits, Fairphone can now offset the rest of its gold consumption that is not physically from certified sources.

Angela Jorns, Fairphone’s Fair Materials and Mining Team Leader, said: “Working with ARM is an important achievement for us.

“We want to show the electronics industry another way to make an impact through their material footprint.

“Fairmined loans are a way to directly support miners and their communities and help improve the professionalization of artisanal and small-scale mining.

“By doing so, we are helping to bring more responsible gold to market, in line with the gold that we ourselves consume and cannot yet fully track or certify.

“We hope the electronics industry will take note and follow our example to help transform the gold industry.”

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