Charlie Betts (left)

While the diamond industry might find itself in headline-level hot water more often in regards to ethical and sustainability issues, the precious metals sector has been working hard to improve on that front too.

At more than 260 years old, Betts Group is one of the oldest precious metal businesses in the world.

Managing director, Charlie Betts, gave PJ the lowdown on where the precious metals industry stands in the current drive for responsible business practices in both jewellery and other sectors.

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What is Betts Group?
Betts Group was established in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in 1760, where it is still based today. We provide specialist precious metal services across refining, manufacturing, investment products, wedding rings, and waste management services.

We are now in the ninth consecutive generation of family management and pride ourselves on being custodians of the past and pioneers of the future.

Does the precious metals mining industry have a long way to go in regards to the ethics, sustainability and traceability of its practices?
The mining industry has a way to go, but it is improving. Mining companies adopting Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RMPGs) set out by the World Gold Council are demonstrating international best practice and engaging with good environmental and social governance.

Provenance is becoming increasingly important, and Fairmined and Fairtrade gold sources are more readily available now.

It’s not always easy to change attitudes in such a well-established industry, but a 2019 survey revealed that 70% of consumers are interested in ethically sourced gold. That is a growing trend that is becoming difficult for our industry to ignore.

What is Betts Metals doing to innovate and improve in regards to the above?
We use Single Mine Origin (SMO) gold in all our manufactured gold products, sourced from the Yanfolila mine in Mali.

This is an affordable, responsible option for jewellers, as it provides an auditable chain of custody for the entire supply chain.

Batch numbers and QR codes offer consumers a direct link to the source of the metal used in their purchase.

Mining at Yanfolila adheres to the RMPGs, which set out strict corporate social responsibility (CSR) guidelines.

We aspire to protect the precious metals industry for future generations, while driving ever higher ethical, environmental and sustainability standards. We also support Fairtrade and Fairmined gold and offer recycling solutions for waste containing metal.