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ASCM Insights

Upholding Human Rights in Gold Supply Chains


This past Tuesday, we celebrated Human Rights Day, in honor of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Drafted by representatives from across the globe, this milestone document was proclaimed December 10, 1948, for the first time declaring fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

As all supply chain professionals know, each of us has a responsibility to uphold the UDHR and relentlessly protect human rights in every corner of the world. Recently, I was encouraged to read that noteworthy strides are being made in the El Chocó gold supply chain. reports that about 500 local gold panners, or “barequeros,” are now part of a “fully traceable global supply chain” in this Colombian region of enduring conflict. Artisanal gold mining is one of the main sources of income for people in El Chocó. Almost half are women, and children as young as seven years old have been found scavenging.

“A group of international organizations, led by Switzerland’s Better Gold Initiative (BGI), has extended their responsible mining initiative to hundreds of artisanal gold miners,” Cecelia Jamasmie reports. “The program seeks to improve gold panners’ working practices and prevent child labor in one of Colombia’s poorest regions.”

BGI’s system demands strict due diligence by the artisanal miners before they are permitted to sell their gold, ensuring the barequeros receive a competitive price. It also lets them know the exact destination of their gold.

Raise the bar

The importance of ensuring socially responsible supply chains continues to deepen. We must commit to making an impact and fulfill our responsibility to create a better world through supply chain. Preserving human rights throughout our global networks demands an unwavering focus on corporate social responsibility, and ASCM is committed to supporting our members as they work toward this goal.

Through the ASCM Foundation, we are drawing on the power of supply chain to achieve vital goals, including

We are also helping supply chains everywhere achieve critical ethical standards, demonstrate transparency and blaze a trail to responsible business. ASCM Enterprise Certification is the first comprehensive evaluation of the ethical, economic and ecological dimensions of a supply chain. Criteria focus on anti-corruption, human rights, risk management, climate strategy, product life cycle stewardship and more.

I hope you will take a moment to learn more about our Foundation’s initiatives and how your organization can lead the way toward supply chain excellence by earning the Enterprise Certification. We all have a role to play in safeguarding fundamental, universal human rights.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at

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