Edward Huizing, executive director of Hivos, which coordinates the Stop Child Labour coalition, signed the International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) Agreement for a responsible gold value chain on June 19, together with Philips, Fairphone, IUCN NL, FNV and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By signing the agreement, facilitated by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER), companies, government and civil society commit themselves to ridding the gold production chain of abuses such as human rights violations, child labour, environmental pollution and corruption.
Sofie Ovaa, Hivos’ Stop Child Labour programme manager, said, “This is an important step towards child labour-free gold and offers us a great opportunity to further share and implement our successful approach to child labour free zones.”
Other parties in the gold sector will be encouraged to join in. The agreement will also set an example for the gold sector in other countries.
The fact that such different parties in the Netherlands, from the jewellery sector and electronics manufacturers to civil society and government, have agreed to take responsibility for tackling human rights and environmental abuses in their chain is promising and inspiring. Sofie Ovaa hopes this example will inspire others, and that “more and more governments, companies and civil society organisations everywhere will join the fight to eliminate child labour and other human rights violations from the production of consumer goods.”