Swiss Better Gold Initiative, Phase III

SECO and the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) promote the creation of value chains for responsibly sourced gold from artisanal and small-scale mines through a public-private partnership called the Swiss Better Gold Initiative.

Country/region Period Budget
01.06.2021 - 30.06.2025
CHF  6’400’000

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) provides a livelihood for millions of people but it is often responsible for environmental and social degradation, human rights abuses, and other adverse effects. The SBG, launched in 2013, aims to improve the conditions in ASM by establishing responsible value chains from the mine to the market. It supports the ASM mining operations in refining their performance in technical, organizational, social and environmental terms and by advising them in the tasks necessary to become responsible producers. This is the third phase of this project.


The overall goal is the reduction of poverty and improvement of social and environmental conditions in artisanal and small-scale mining with climate change resilience, spurring sustainable local development as well as increasing revenues for national and regional development. This is to be achieved through market mechanisms that honor compliance of producers with standards on traceability, accountability, labour conditions, environmental, social, governance and community relations performance. The third phase will empower the private sector partner, the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), aiming for long-term sustainability. Phase III opens up for complementary scaling-up measures in other geographies in order to keep the initiative flexible and adaptable and it will introduce a competitive financing facility to increase inclusiveness for other stakeholders and to allow mines to progress from basic compliance to full compliance with VSS certification.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Miners and their communities are integrated in responsible and profitable value chains from ASM to the market

Outcome 2: Framework conditions for responsible ASM in sourcing countries are improved

Outcome 3: Coordinated, well disseminated good practices elaborated and knowledge on as well as transparency in ASM improved.


Expected results:  

Output 1.1: ASM miners identified and supported in responsible production

Output 1.2: ASM mines connected to the market – supply and demand are in equilibrium

Output 1.3: Social / environmental conditions of ASM communities improved, and scaled-up with premium funds

Output 2: Country-specific outputs for improved framework conditions in producing countries

Output 3.1: ASM interventions systematized, shared and implemented

Output 3.2: Incorporation of good practices into the dialogue about ASM at a global, national and regional level

Results from previous phases:  

In the eight years of BGI’s existence, the project increased its outreach and number of exports of responsible gold. More than 8.000 kg of responsibly produced ASM gold have been exported to Switzerland in the second phase. This is equivalent to an export value of USD 400 mio. and represents 1/5 of ASM gold imported to Switzerland. The BGI is highly recognized in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where the ASM gold sector is getting increased attention on the political agenda. The BGI directly benefits 6'200 miners (30'000 indirect beneficiaries) and there is an increasing number of formalized ASM thanks to the initiative.

Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’400’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    0 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    17’200’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.06.2021 - 30.06.2025   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.11.2016 - 30.06.2021   (Completed) Phase 1 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)