36 - Opportunities for impact in the mining industry


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Mining is an inherently challenging industry from an impact perspective since it's all about the removal and consumption of the earth's limited natural resources. The manner in which we have historically mined these resources has caused great harm to people, communities, and our planet.

At the same time, our existence (as it stands today) absolutely depends on mining to provide everything from the minerals we use in virtually all of our toiletries (makeup, vitamins, toothpaste, soap, etc.) and the fertilizer we use to grow food, to the metals we use essential to necessities like cars, buildings, roads, mobile phones, and medical equipment.

Plus, mining is a massive industry that contributes greatly to wealth creation for an exceedingly large number of people globally. In Canada, nearly 700,000 people work either directly or indirectly in mining and receive the highest average wage/salaries of any industry in the country.

Since it isn't possible in the foreseeable future to stop mining entirely it seems abundantly clear we need to shift our focus to reducing demand and improving mining sustainability.

Enter today's guest, Elizabeth Freele, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Sympact Advisory, based in Vancouver, Canada. Liz, is a passionate social sustainability strategist and futurist entrepreneur, supporting everything from pre-seed to mature enterprises in challenging operational environments across the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. She holds an MBA from IE Business School, a certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School, and a BA in Political Science and Global Development from Western University.

Liz and her colleagues at Sympact work with companies to help improve their social performance to foster both company and community resilience. And given Liz's long background in the mining industry, the organization has quickly established a stronghold there.

In today's episode, I sit down with Liz to flesh out the nuances of the ESG impacts of the mining industry from an ESG perspective and the practical opportunities for improving its sustainability. During the episode, we discuss the state of mining today, just how dependent we are on the industry, the most harmful practices that need to end, how mining companies can do better, and which organizations she sees as leaders in the space. And be sure to stay tuned to the very end when Liz discusses her views on where there is the most opportunity for impact investing in the mining industry.

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