Rob Karpati – Measuring the Benefits of Social Engagement

VP, Strategic Transformation


A social license is obtained by a mining company through respectful local community engagement, with purpose-driven interactions building cross-stakeholder trust. Approaches for collaboration are defined and implemented based on this work, which are win/win solutions, meeting the needs of both the company and local communities in a way which increases value for all.

Proactive positive engagement requires a meaningful investment of time and money from the mining company, building relationships as well as solutions that increase corporate resilience while bringing a positive financial return. Measuring Corporate as well as Community returns which accrue from this work is necessary for galvanizing focus while providing a baseline to measure progress against expectations.

Corporate return on investment (ROI) and Community social return on investment (SROI) are correlative. As community needs, concerns, and values are addressed, social return is generated by targeted solutions resulting from an educated social impact assessment or from O Trade’s 360-Degree Rapid Assessment, which appropriately addresses the situation on the ground. These solutions, resulting from an assertive diagnosis, range broadly from strategies such as local employment and procurement through to water access and skill-development; community members benefit through increased opportunities. Social return generated by the resulting benefits can be measured explicitly, through modelling of the economic implications of the benefits that are created through Corporate investment.

Corporate ROI correlates explicitly with community SROI. Bottom-line benefits accrue for a company as trust is built; potential conflict is shifted towards productive collaboration. Benefits from this work, which can also be measured explicitly, include enhanced productivity and a variety of reduced Corporate risks.

Investors increasingly understand and focus on social engagement as they see explicit benefits resulting from the work. Ethical investors have historically focused on doing ‘good’, incorporating positive social gains and shunning negative impacts from portfolio choices. Today’s impact investors have a stronger focus on financial implications resulting from this work, combining the notion of doing ‘good’ with a quantitative desire to do ‘well’. In this context, investors are increasingly expecting and demanding clarity and quality in social engagement, now becoming a standard part of smart portfolio selection activities.

The bottom line is that positive social engagement is clearly an investment, generating company and community benefits which are not just measurable, but important to measure in order to galvanize focus and track progress.


Rob has been a long-term Finance leader in a multi-national Corporate environment. Focusing on strategic transformation and on global process optimization over his 30+ year career, Rob developed a capability for integrating complex end-to-end processes in ways intended to optimize the value of multiple stakeholders. Using Finance as a business improvement ‘activator’, Rob worked cross-culturally and cross-regionally in bringing together diverse stakeholders toward common perspectives on overall value.

Rob has a strong belief in a balanced approach across multiple stakeholders, valuing the concept that sustainable development requires win/win approaches that engage various Corporate and local community stakeholders in specific aligned collaboration. Collaboration with a long-term mutually equitable focus is critical to long-term development in his mind.

Rob’s role is focused on defining and leading organizational transformation with a goal of multiplying social benefits driven through partnerships between the organization and its customers. Collaborating with the organization to develop a clear analytical Finance perspective that articulates benefits across target stakeholder groups including target communities, corporations and investors is a key subset to this transformation that Rob directly owns.