Rachel Dekker & Elizabeth Freele – Next-Gen Social Investment: New Tools to Support Community Resilience

1Burnaby, BC, Canada; rachel@sympact.ca

2Vancouver, BC, Canada; elizabeth@sympact.ca

In spite of well-intentioned efforts to share benefits and contribute to vibrant local communities, the challenging reality is that many mining communities struggle with community resilience both during and after the life of mine. In some cases, company presence even exacerbates existing situations.

What’s expected of mining companies is expanding and shifting rapidly. A company’s ability to meet these expectations and achieve strong social performance informs:

▪ local community acceptance (their ‘social license to operate’),

▪ investor confidence (their ESG rankings and ratings),

▪ regulatory processes where community voice is considered,

▪ company or project valuation in mergers/acquisitions, and

▪ public opinion which may galvanize against proponents, based on poor local social performance or legacies elsewhere.

Too often companies think that philanthropy and local sponsorships are enough to build relationships and be a good neighbour. This is changing.

Instead, a well-considered social investment program that makes strategic contributions to local community resilience should be a crucial element in a company’s broader social management approach and business strategy.

This talk addresses the rationale for contributing to lasting socio-economic outcomes, what community resilience means for both communities and companies, and what a company can do to help create meaningful and lasting social value.


[1] https://www.embeddingproject.org/resources/understanding-community-resilience

[2] https://www.embeddingproject.org/blog/why-community-resilience-matters-to-companies [forthcoming]

[3] http://www.icmm.com/en-gb/research/social-performance/community-resilience-role-for-the-mining-industry


Co-founded by Rachel Dekker and Elizabeth Freele (Co-Founders & Managing Partners), Sympact Advisory is an innovative think tank and hands-on sustainability consultancy.

Expectations of business are shifting rapidly. Sympact helps mining companies achieve strong social performance to meet them. We help companies with the design and implementation of social management, ESG integration, and sustainability strategy.

Sympact also works with global clients across business, government, and non-profit sectors, including initiatives in clean tech, consumer packaged goods, agribusiness, impact investing, circular economy, and international development.

Practitioners ourselves, we take a hands-on approach to driving positive impact. Our team offers expertise in social management systems, social risk, social impact, and economic development. www.sympact.ca