Canada accepts first export of conflict free artisanal gold from Eastern Congo
A Canadian jeweller has completed the first export of responsible and conflict free artisanal gold from Eastern Congo, just one month after a new responsible gold supply chain system was implemented in the region.
Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) launched the Just Gold Project as a pilot project in 2015, but successfully moved beyond pilot phase into a fully-fledged operation earlier this year.
The jewellery company, Fair Trade Jewellery Co, based in Toronto, Canada, successfully received an export of 238 grams in three gold doré bars. The move represents the very first time any consumer goods will be made out of conflict-free artisanal gold from Congo that is fully traced from mine, throughout the supply chain, through to consumer.
Upon receiving the gold, the Toronto team refined, alloyed and designed four responsibly-mined and conflict-free artisanal gold rings. Each ring has been engraved with a lot number, which traces it to a specific mine site in the DRC's Ituri Province, where the gold originated.
"Sourcing from Congo was a new and exceptionally ambitious process, but one to which our organization is committed to and capable of achieving thanks to partners on the ground, like Partnership Africa Canada," said Robin Gambhir, Fair Trade Jewellery Co. co-founder.
"After more than a decade of ensuring that our materials are responsibly-sourced, we're delighted to add Just Gold to the gold options we currently offer our clients. Ensuring we source fully traceable materials directly from communities is a way to foster community development, and as a company—deepen our impact on many stakeholders," added Gambhir.
The exporting of this gold was not without challenge. These included high export taxes, transportation restrictions, and burdensome paperwork. All of these challenges faced will be used by Partnership Africa Canada to call on the Congolese government to create more favourable conditions for legal trade and responsible investment.
The move is a major turning point in the future of conflict-free artisanal gold exporting.
"This export from Bunia, DRC to Toronto proved that it is possible to bring Canadian and international consumers traced conflict-free Congolese artisanal gold. What is particularly exciting is that we have shown that every gram of gold can be accompanied by reliable quantitative and qualitative data about its provenance and the actors involved in its extraction, production and trade," said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada's Executive Director.
"Saying that it is impossible to carry out due diligence on gold supply chains is no longer a valid argument for industry. We have proven otherwise," said Lebert.
ASCM: Supply chain pay gap closes in under 40s
The pay gap between men and women working in supply chain under the age of 40 has finally reached parity, according to the Association for Supply Chain Management’s latest annual Supply Chain Salary and Career Report.
The gender pay gap in this age group had been narrowing over the past two years, the ASCM’s previous surveys show, and in 2021 has closed entirely. Women report a median salary of $81,000 annually, while men earn a median annual salary of $79,000. Across all age brackets, men report a median salary of $82,000 and women $80,000.
Other highlights from the ASCM report
- 95% of supply chain professionals kept their job through the pandemic
- The typical starting salary for a supply chain professional is $60,000
- 48% of supply chain professionals now work from home
- 88% of survey respondents find supply chain a fulfilling career path
But there is still work to be done in closing the divide in those over the age of 40. Older men are still earning far more than their female peers, with a discrepancy of between $12,000 and $23,000 annually. ASCM’s report does not definitively conclude why this disparity remains, but says women who began their careers several decades ago may have started out on lower salaries. They may also have missed out on steady wage increases and career development after taking time away from work to have and raise families.
It is also likely that the pay gap in over 40s is affected by a lack of women in executive leadership positions. A recent Gartner study found that, while women now represent 41% of the supply chain workforce - a five year high - only 15% of executive level positions are held by women. That figure is a decline of two per cent on 2020.
Supply chain’s racial pay gap remains
For the first time, ASCM’s annual survey also looked into the pay gap between ethnicities, finding that the median salary for black professionals was 12% less than their white peers, and Latinos earned on average 14% less. That represents a divide of between $9,000 and &10,000 in real terms. Asian professionals earned a median salary of $80,000, compared with the $83,000 for white professionals.
Abe Eshkenazi, the ASCM chief executive, said reporting on and acknowledging lingering wage disparity was not enough: “Supply chain organisations must lead the way by creating environment where diverse talent is valued, included and developed. The need for supply chain professionals has never been greater, so now is the time to expand the aperture to include diversity of thought, influence and input — particularly for women and people of colour.”
Read the full report: ASCM 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report