Fair Congo is a brand. A new way of responsible sourcing which recognizes the consumer demand for transparent, conflict-free, fair-trade, sustainable means of natural resource extraction, production and exporting. Fair Congo standards are managed by the Fair Congo Foundation’s board of advisors, a cross section of professions from private, non-profit and development sectors. These standards define what it means to be ‘fair trade’, ‘conflict-free’, and eco-friendly’, with all of the benefits of the products increased value reaching the communities which produce them.
Each step in our due diligence is summarized in reports for each individual export, structured to make the importers compliance process easier to manage. All importers are encouraged to ‘customize’ each report to fit their unique needs as well as come visit our offices to view our processes first hand. These reports include:
- ASGM (Artisanal & Small-scale Gold Mining) DD (Due Diligence) Form
- Fair Congo Export Checklist
- Fair Congo Gold XRF (X-ray fluorescence) report
- Universal KYC (Known Your Customer)
- Cooperative Base Contracts
- Fair Congo COC (Chain of Custody) Reconciliation report
- Fair-Trade DD (Due Diligence) report
- Eco-Friendly analysis
Due Diligence & Monitoring
The Fair Congo due diligence standards have been in development for several years with significant input from our stakeholders and are managed by the independent board of advisors of the Fair Congo Foundation. Our process begins with civil society and local government identifying sites. Once a desktop review of site logistics and production capacity is made our in-house, agent de conformité (compliance officer) goes to the site to complete a pre-purchase site inspection and the ASGM DD form to evaluate each location. During each inspection, a soil sample is taken from each pit to catalog an XRF analysis, later used to supplement material traceability. DD continues with extensive documentation gathering as detailed in the Fair Congo Export Checklist, including KYC files completed on each organization or individual involved in the supply chain. Exclusively for ‘Premium Importateur’, our DD steps continue further with the Fair-Trade DD report and Eco-Friendly analysis which helps Fair Congo to certify our material as Fair Trade and Eco-friendly.
Due diligence is a never-ending process. Our agent de conformité continues to be randomly inspect sites along with our stakeholders, including civil society. Any sites reported through our Community Reporting Mechanism(http://faircongo.org/reporting) are immediately re-inspected, allowing a real-time response to any potential risks in the supply chain. Any incidents along the supply chain are documented and publicly disclosed both in an annual report as well as online at http://faircongo.com/incident-reporting/.
Chain of Custody
Chain of custody is documented through a combination of transactional receipts from the mine site to the Fair Congo trading office as well as the use of tamper-evident, inventory controlled security bags. Each export is accompanied by the Fair Congo COC Reconciliation report, signed and stamped for importer compliance requirements.
Material traceability from Fair Congo is verified on multiple levels. As discussed above, all of the due diligence documentation and chain of custody verification steps come together to ensure material can be traced to its source. Fair Congo however takes it one step further by cataloging spectrograph or XRF soil sample reports during the initial and follow up inspections to compare to material brought to our trading office, before its purchased. This allows us to verify material traceability through traditional documentation measures as well as through enhanced XRF analysis, using the same technology used by most of our importers.
One of the greatest assets Fair Congo has is it’s shareholders. 99% Fair Congo shares are owned by US citizens who have already undergone detailed background checks and vetting by our stakeholders, principally US State Department. Furthermore, the majority shareholder also owns a company which worked as a US federal contractor in the banking sectors specializing in asset management and fraud investigations. In other words, financial accountability is something we can literally be called experts on. We encourage our US and EU importers to verify our internal AML/CFT integrity by completing their own background checks and review of our audited accounts (when available). Fair Congo welcomes requests to complete any Wolfsberg or other AML/CFT type documentation.
To further our commitment to financial transparency, Fair Congo implements a near exclusive strategy to use electronic methods of remittance like MPesa. This provides many benefits, including the security of limited cash handling.
‘Premium Importateur’ – That Extra! Level
‘Premium Importateurs’ help put the ‘Fair’ in Fair Congo by recognizing their commitment to the community. A commitment not to just to pay a fair value but to help develop the community. ‘Premium Importateurs’ pay 15% above LBMA and provide full inventory financing. These organizations receive additional certification on their material through Fair Congo’s supplemental due diligence, the Fair-Trade DD report and Eco-friendly analysis. The premium goes to the Fair Congo Foundation and our ‘Premium Importateurs’ become listed as sponsors of the Foundation’s community and women empowerment projects. They also receive video and picture content which can be shared or displayed publicly under guidelines provided by the Foundation.
For more detailed information regarding Fair Congo’s due diligence measures please contact us or visit the following links:
In addition to OECD guidelines and our 10 principles of fair trade, the parent and implementing Company, Chambers Federation, is a signatory to the UN Global Compact (click here). More detailed information regarding the Company’s integration of these ten principles as well as their correlation to the United Nations SDGs please visit our latest ‘Communication On Progress’ listed on the UN Global Compact site by clicking here.