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Scaling-up certification in artisanal and small-scale mining: Innovations for inclusivity

The challenges of poverty, marginalisation and vulnerability characterise the livelihoods of the majority of the 20-30 million artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) worldwide. Linking these miners to supply chains and guaranteeing good social and environmental practice via certification should help to address development issues as well as create confidence in sourcing products from ASM, and marketing them to businesses and consumers.

But it is typically the better organised and more advantaged producers with access to resources who are able to engage with certification and therefore obtain any benefits. Creating the infrastructure needed to make ASM certifiable – and for certification to deliver sustainability successes for ASM – is a challenge and requires innovative thinking. As sustainability certification schemes develop to address issues facing ASM, it is important to take into account and learn from other sectors in regards to what can be done to make certification and its benefits inclusive and accessible to larger numbers of miners.

This paper seeks to identify existing and emerging innovations and best practice in sustainability certification that enable fair and beneficial inclusion of producers. It seeks to learn lessons for artisanal and small-scale mining from the agricultural sectors, where certification has been operational for some time. It also explores the enabling environments or support systems needed to scale up of certification.

The paper is a first step in exploring this subject area. It offers initial lessons on what innovations and models exist to maximise inclusivity and how these might be replicated. These lessons are useful for those designing, implementing and using certification and also identifies further research questions that warrant attention.

This publication forms part of IIED’s work to identify pathways towards inclusive and responsible mining.

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Publication information

  • IIED code: 16545IIED
  • Published: May 2013 - IIED
  • Theme: Energy
  • Language: English

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Shaping Sustainable Markets is a research initiative that explores how the formal and informal rules used to govern markets – called market governance mechanisms (MGMs) – are designed, and how they impact on people, the planet and the economy.

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Shaping Sustainable markets