Why ethical gold is hard to find

STORY: Investment funds are increasingly focusing on bullion from ethical sources

And stressing their sustainable ambitions to attract new clients

But buying newly-made bars is no guarantee the gold is untainted by crime or violence

The London Bullion Market Association brought in tighter provenance rules in 2012

But many bars made after that date contain recycled and unverified gold

"It resembles greenwashing. When it’s not possible to trace origin, just say so," says Patrick Schein from the Alliance for Responsible Mining.

European demand for new gold means more pre-2012 bars end up in Asia where they’re recast into smaller bars

Some of these are later returned to the West and recast in the larger size again

Investment funds could pay more to secure bullion with a guaranteed origin

But most don’t, citing undesirable costs for clients and trading complexities