Building Bridges Event: Cleaning up the Brazilian Gold Value Chain

September 14, 2023

Cleaning up the Brazilian Gold Value Chain

Watch the recording from this event

Date: 5th October 2023

Time: 10:00 to 11:30 CET

Location:  Centre International de Conférences Genève – Room B and Online

To Register: click here

About the Event

Sustainable finance requires taking steps to ensure that all financial activity is aligned with the need for a healthy and balanced planet.  The disappearance of the Amazon is, in this respect, a major threat.  The Brazil – Switzerland gold value chain is a good illustration of how this plays out in reality. Join us to explore steps that Brazil is taking to eliminate illegal gold from its production and trade, contributions that a range of Swiss players are making – or could make – to support Brazil’s efforts; and the role of the Swiss financial sector in helping this to happen.



Mining of metals and minerals is an important part of Brazil’s economy, and the royalties are essential for its economic and social development. Unfortunately, roughly half of the gold from Brazil is mined illegally, much of it in the Amazon, and directly contributes to deforestation on a large scale, the violation of indigenous and other protected areas, abuse of human rights and pollution of ecosystems.

At the other end of the value chain, gold is bought and sold for jewellery, industrial uses and as a financial asset.  This trade – and the central involvement of financial players – cannot fail to be linked to the negative impact on the ground.


Switzerland is a major gold trading centre and the second most important destination for Brazilian gold after Canada.  Switzerland also plays a leading global role in gold refining, and of course, Swiss financial institutions buy, sell and store large quantities of gold, including gold from Brazil.

Switzerland seeks to maintain the highest standards in terms of the gold imported and refined in the country, and its legislation carries heavy sanctions for those involved in illegal trade. Switzerland is leading the rapid development of technology for traceability, as its reputation requires strong steps to ensure the integrity of its value chains.

In the past few years, this has meant exercising great care in respect of gold from Brazil due to the proliferation of illegal gold mining under the previous government.

The Opportunity

With the election of President Lula in late 2022,  the ending of Amazon deforestation and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples has been publicly established as the highest priority.  Achieving these aims requires eliminating illegal gold mining and ensuring that such gold does not enter the value chain, especially in terms of its exports.

There is an impressive consensus among key actors in Brazil on the need to advance this aim.  Beyond the Executive, it extends to the formal mining sector, the central bank and the financial community, the Federal Police, the judiciary, and civil society. 

The second factor concerns the rapid improvement in the traceability of gold from extraction to final point of sale.  This includes sophisticated technology to determine the precise origin of gold, to mark it so that it might be traced to its final destination, to provide gold with a “geo-forensic passport,” and the use of blockchain technology to ensure the integrity of the chain of custody.  It includes technology for tracing financial transactions linked to the gold trade.

As a result, the demand to revisit the commonly-applied standard for ensuring the integrity of gold is rapidly growing.

The event programme will address three main topics:
  1. Brazil’s Commitment to Eliminate Illegal Gold
  2. Switzerland’s Action in the Gold Sector
  3. Raising the Bar – What is still needed?
Speakers Include:
  • Barbara Beck (Université de Lausanne Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE) lecturer and Research Manager)
  • Diana Culillas (Secretary General, Swiss Better Gold Association)
  • Frédéric Dawance (Managing Partner at PPT, Head of The Swiss Positive Fund – Physical Gold’s investment team)
  • Marcelo Furtado (NatureFinance Principal and Co-Lead of the Taskforce on Nature Markets, Head of Sustainability Itaúsa)
  • Marie-Laure Schaufelberger (Head of ESG and Stewardship, the Pictet Group)
  • Mark Halle (Senior Advisor, NatureFinance)
  • Melina Risso (Research Director, Igarapé Institute)
  • Neidinha Suruí (Co-founder, Kandidé Ethno-Environmental Defense Association)
  • Olivia Lipsky (Corporate Sustainability Manager, WWF Switzerland)
  • Patrick Odier (President of Swiss Sustainable Finance, Chairman of Building Bridges)
  • Raul Jungmann (President, Brazilian Mining Association (IBRAM))
  • Xavier Miserez  (Head of Sales, MKS Pamp)

Join us in person at Building Bridges in Geneva, or online: Register Now

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