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Tabula launches ESG-focused gold ETC: BARS

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European ETF provider Tabula Investment Management Limited has announced the launch of the ESG-focused physical gold ETC, the SMO Physical Gold ETC (Bloomberg: BARS LN). 

Tabula writes that BARS is the first exchange-traded physical gold product to offer full traceability of gold bars from mine to vault, using a small number of named mines adhering to high ESG standards. 

The firm writes that BARS is the only physical gold ETC in the market where:

·      Every ounce of gold can be traced to a carefully selected mine, accredited with the highest responsibility standards 

·      Each gold mine used has been independently audited and has data to demonstrate they provide vital social, environmental and cultural support to local communities 

·      No gold is of Russian origin

·      No gold is “recycled” gold of unknown provenance

·      No mercury is used in the extraction of the gold

BARS will only use gold from a small number of named mines, will provide full traceability across the supply chain, and is designed to provide the same level of liquidity, efficiency and security as existing physical gold ETCs, the firm says.  

Single Mine Origin (SMO) Limited, an independent company set up in 2017, conducts extensive due diligence and ongoing monitoring of the participating mining companies, mines and refiners, and oversees and documents every step of the supply chain. The result is a transparent and trusted standard for responsibly sourced gold.

“Gold production is highly fragmented with multiple countries, companies and mines producing the precious metal. Quality control has historically focused on ensuring purity of the metal in the bars,” says Tabula CEO Michael John Lytle. “However, with only 4 per cent of gold being traceable there are serious ESG risks in the gold supply chain from potential human rights abuses, environmental degradation, possible financing of conflict and terrorism, money laundering and sanctions evasion. Some of the world’s largest major gold producers fail basic ESG screens, and existing standards in the gold industry are not sufficient.”

SMO Co-Founder Charlie Betts says: “The only way to properly assess the social and environmental impacts of gold is to have full traceability across the supply chain. Proper accountability is not possible without this degree of transparency. The launch of the SMO Physical Gold ETC addresses the shortcomings of many existing gold investment options, by only sourcing gold from mines adhering to international best practice and openly sharing their ESG data.”

The SMO Physical Gold ETC (Bloomberg: BARS LN) lists on the London Stock Exchange on 22 April 2024. It has a TER of 0.29 per cent and has been launched in partnership with leading global gold custodian HSBC.

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