How Much Gold is in the World?
Gold has retained its value throughout history, partly due to the fact that it is indestructible.
That means that virtually all the gold in the world that has been mined is still around in one form or another. Some of it may have turned into jewelry, while some might be sitting inside vaults as bullion. So, just how much gold have we mined, and how much of it is left beneath the ground?
This infographic from our sponsor Kalo Gold visualizes all the gold in the world that’s above ground and the identified reserves that we have yet to mine.
Where is All the Gold?
The World Gold Council estimates that miners have historically extracted a total of 201,296 tonnes of gold, leaving another 53,000 tonnes left in identified underground reserves.
If all of the above-ground gold were stacked beside each other, the resulting cube would only measure 22 meters on each side, which is a testament to the metal’s rarity. But where exactly is all of this mined gold?
Nearly half of all the gold ever mined is held in the form of jewelry. India and China have been the largest markets for gold jewelry consumption, combining for more than 50% of global jewelry demand in 2020.
|Category||Gold stocks held (tonnes)||% of above-ground stocks||Dollar value* (US$, trillions)|
|Official holdings/Central banks||34,211||17%||$2.1T|
*Dollar values are based on gold’s price of $1756.66/oz as of close on Sept. 30, 2021.
Investors across the globe buy gold because of its ability to deliver value, and when inflationary pressures are high, gold often acts as a flight to safety. Consequently, investment is one of gold’s biggest end-uses, with over 44,000 tonnes of gold held as bars, coins, or bullion for gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Besides investors, central banks are also among the biggest holders of gold. Unlike foreign currency reserves, equities, and debt-backed securities, gold’s value largely depends on supply and demand. Therefore, central banks often use gold to diversify their assets and hedge against fiat currency depreciation. Central banks’ gold holdings account for almost one-fifth of all above-ground gold; as of 2021, official holdings exceed 35,000 tonnes.
Although gold is widely coveted as a precious metal, it also has various industrial uses, with applications in electronics, dentistry, and space. In fact, it’s estimated that a typical iPhone contains about 0.034 grams of gold, in addition to other precious metals. It is these industrial uses that account for 29,448 tonnes or roughly 15% of all above-ground gold.
Underground Gold Reserves
Before it turns into jewelry and bullion, gold goes through several stages in the supply chain, beginning with mineral exploration and mining of underground reserves. As of 2020, the world had 53,000 tonnes of gold in identified reserves. Here’s where all this gold lies:
|Country||Gold reserves (tonnes)||% of total|
|South Africa 🇿🇦||2,700||5%|
|Rest of the World 🌎||27,100||51%|
Given their availability of reserves, it’s no surprise that Australia, Russia, U.S., and Peru are among the world’s largest gold producers, with only China having produced more in 2020. These reserves not only help determine current production but can also provide an idea of where gold mining could occur in the future.
In 2020, miners produced just over 3,000 tonnes of gold, and at this rate, underground reserves will last less than 18 years without new discoveries. However, it’s important to note that reserves can change and grow as explorers find gold in different parts of the world.
A Golden Future
Gold has been around for thousands of years, and it will likely remain that way in the future.
With rising concerns over the growth in money supply and inflation, gold will continue to deliver value and protect investors in times of volatility while preserving wealth for the long term.
Kalo Gold is discovering gold on the edges of the mineral-rich Pacific Ring of Fire with its Vatu Aurum project in Fiji.
Ocean Economy: The Next Wave of Sustainable Innovation
This graphic explores how the $1.5 trillion ocean economy can help fight against some of the toughest challenges facing the world today.
Ocean Economy: The Next Wave of Sustainable Innovation
Roughly 21–37% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to our current food system, which includes conventional agriculture and land use according to the latest IPCC report.
With the global population rising and more mouths to feed, now is the time to reconsider how we can tap into our global resources to build a more sustainable food system.
This infographic from Billy Goat Brands (CSE: GOAT) (“GOAT”) explores how the ocean economy—also referred to as the blue economy—plays a vital role in our fight against climate change and other environmental challenges facing the world today.
What is the Ocean Economy?
The ocean economy is described as the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources for economic development and ocean ecosystem health.
The global economic output of the ocean economy is $1.5 trillion each year. Here is an example of some of the activities and sectors that make up the ocean economy today:
|Harvesting of living marine resources||Fisheries
|Harvesting of non-living marine resources ||Marine biology
Oil & Gas
|Transport and trade||Tourism
Shipping and shipbuilding
|Renewable energy||Renewables (wind, wave, tidal energy)|
|Indirect economic activities||Carbon sequestration
Financing ocean-related economic activities will ensure the future sustainability of this vital resource, and help combat threats that pose a risk to humanity, such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.
However, some experts say that there is insufficient private and public investment in sustainable ocean economy activities.
The Investment Opportunity
Investors have a unique opportunity to drive change through companies innovating in the ocean economy and be part of the solution.
- The ocean could provide six times more food than it does today.
- Seafood continues to be the fastest growing sector by 2030 with only 60% of fish available for consumption.
- The ocean economy provides a smaller carbon footprint compared to conventional agriculture.
The potential for economic growth will only continue to grow, presenting investors and institutions with a chance to add value at this crucial stage of development while making a real and tangible impact.
In fact, investing $1 in key ocean activities can yield at least $5 in global benefits—a number that will continue to rise over the next 30 years according to a World Resources Institute report.
The report also states that investing between $2 trillion and $3.7 trillion globally across four crucial areas could generate between $8.2 trillion and $22.8 trillion in returns by 2050. These four areas are:
- Restoring mangrove habitats
- Scaling up offshore wind production
- Decarbonizing international shipping
- Increasing the production of sustainably sourced ocean-based proteins
An Ocean of Possibilities on the Horizon
Plant-based alternatives will play an important role in alleviating the pressure on ocean resources, and technological innovation has been pivotal in creating imitation products for the consumer market.
GOAT provides diversified exposure to expansion-stage companies that contribute to the ocean economy through innovative food technologies, functional foods and plant-based alternatives.
“We believe that plant-based seafood alternatives should be available for everyone, everywhere. That’s why we spent years creating a seamless experience that’s nearly indistinguishable from their animal-based counterparts.”
—Mike Woodruff, CEO Sophie’s Kitchen
Sophie’s Kitchen is one of GOAT’s investee companies and a leading California-based manufacturer and distributor of disruptive plant-based seafood alternatives.
Go to billygoatbrands.com to learn more about investing in the ocean economy today.
Impact Investing: Building a Better World
While investors often focus solely on returns, impact investing introduces a way to also tackle global environmental and social problems.
Typically, an investor’s main objective revolves around building wealth and then turning that wealth into an income generator. As a result, financial returns are accepted as the default performance metric.
But what if investing could also address the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems?
More Than Investing
This infographic from BlackRock introduces the concept of impact investing and explains why it can be a force for good.
What Does Positive Impact Look Like?
Impact investing is a sustainable investing approach that combines the intention to generate positive returns with positive, measurable social and environmental outcomes.
To understand what these outcomes actually look like, here are some highlights from the companies that the BlackRock Impact Team invests in.
- 102,000 GWh of renewable energy generated
- 11 million metric tons of food waste mitigated
- 114 million individuals empowered with access to financial services
- 99 million people given access to clean drinking water
- 600,000 families given access to affordable housing
- 1.8 billion patients given access to affordable healthcare
These outcomes were generated in 2020, and help to make our world a better place.
The Three Pillars of Additionality
For impact investing to be an effective strategy, investors must be able to accurately measure the positive outcomes their capital is helping to create. A company may claim to be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but its actions may not be making a real world difference.
“Alignment to the SDGs is not enough to qualify as impact; we require that companies advance the SDGs by providing a solution that is additional, thereby creating genuine impact.”
-Quyen Tran, Director of Impact Investing at BlackRock
Below is an overview of the three pillars of additionality that BlackRock uses to measure impact. In this context, additionality means an outcome would not have occurred without the company’s contribution.
1. Additionality From the Investee (the company)
A company provides additionality if its products and services address a need that is unlikely to be fulfilled by others. The primary sources of company additionality are:
- The application of leading technologies
- The deployment of innovative business models
- The delivery of products and services to underserved populations
Helping underserved populations is a powerful way to create impact. In 2017, for example, it was estimated that 1.7 billion adults did not have a bank account.
2. Additionality From the Investor
Investors can also provide additionality by empowering businesses to create positive impact. This can be done through five mechanisms:
- Invest with a long-term ownership mindset
- Engage with companies to help enhance their impact outcomes
- Invest capital when an impact company needs to raise more capital
- Bring much-needed visibility to undervalued impact companies
- Create a better marketplace for impact companies looking to go public
The effects of these mechanisms are already being seen worldwide, especially as awareness of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors rises. According to a 2020 report by KPMG, 80% of companies now publish sustainability reports.
3. Additionality From the Asset Class
Even with the help of private investments, the world faces a multi-trillion-dollar shortfall in its quest to meet the UN SDGs by 2030. Public equities have the ability to shrink this gap by moving capital towards enterprises that are solving the world’s greatest challenges.
|Private market impact investing||$0.5T|
Source: McKinsey & Co (2019), BlackRock (2020)
At $93 trillion in total value, public equities are roughly 20 times larger than private markets.
Building a Better World
Solving today’s greatest challenges often requires innovative solutions. Consider the fact that many regions suffer from a lack of doctors.
|Region||Density of Physicians|
|Europe||1 for every 293 people|
|Americas||1 for every 417 people|
|Southeast Asia||1 for every 1,239 people|
|Africa||1 for every 3,324 people|
Source: World Health Organization (2021)
An impact investing strategy will seek out companies whose products or services can help to alleviate this shortage. For example, the BlackRock Impact Team has identified a medical software company whose platform lowers administrative costs and increases productivity.
Cybersecurity is another area where investors can help create positive change—according to McAfee, cybercrime has become a $1 trillion drag on the global economy.
This risk disproportionately affects small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) because they have limited resources to protect themselves. Cybersecurity companies that specialize in servicing SMEs can help protect this important part of the economy.
The Time is Now
Impact investing is not limited to a single theme. Around the world, various social and environmental issues are capturing the attention of governments and society. Ultimately, what’s needed are innovative solutions.
“If your savings can earn a strong return invested in companies that are doing good for the world, why would you invest any other way?”
—Eric Rice, Head of Active Equities Impact Investing at BlackRock
By directing capital to the right companies, investors have the potential to generate financial return while building a better world.
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