A discussion with Joanne Jobin, a mining industry leader, Founder of THE Mining Investment Event of The North and THE “SHE-Co” art initiative
Can you introduce THE Event and its initiatives?
THE Event takes place in Quebec City annually in June. We feature large cap to small cap, and all commodities including a big focus on critical metals. We grew THE Event 100% from 49 companies and 300 participants in year one, 2022 to 108 companies and 600 participants in 2023: a significant growth step for anyone. We are on track for more growth in 2024 with an important focus on including national and international mining authorities.
Can you present the “She-Co” initiative and what you hope to achieve through the collaboration with Gismondi & Darmo?
Our SHE-Co initiative supports young women in need with their education and helps with start-ups. This year we helped to sponsor three Afghani women with their continuing education at The University of British Columbia, notably by donating C$10,000. Next year in collaboration with THE ESG Community Art Initiative, we will be tying the two initiatives together, which in turn will provide opportunities to mining companies to support their communities through art. What prompted us to start the initiative is a keen desire to give back the industry. I want to credit Jenny Choi, my VP of Operations, for this, “heart mission”. Last year, we featured well-known local Québec artist, Bertrand Turmel, who painted on-site. A portion of the profits of his sales and THE Event profits went to the SHE-Co initiative. People were very intrigued, and many have stepped forward to say that they want to be a bigger part of that initiative – which, by the way, is how Gismondi & Darmo became involved. With Gismondi & Darmo, assisting in curating and bringing in the artists and their works to THE Event, we will launch THE ESG Community Art Initiative. We will be speaking to many mining firms and governments who have large footprints in communities where they operate, where we can find and feature those community artists at THE Event. The main benefit is that mining companies will not just be talking about their ESG efforts, but they will be able to directly highlight the relationships between them as they support Community Artists, and the beneficial impact of art on those communities.
How important is it to have a strong ESG stance to maintain a social license to operate?
Simply put, companies cannot attract investment without a proper ESG platform. ESG is not about lip service anymore. It is reality – same for conferences, by the way, in my opinion, you cannot just feature an ESG panel and think you have done your part – you must engage and DO your part. The debate still rages, many junior mining firms realize the importance of involving the First Nations leadership before they even go public or even put a drill in the ground. Companies now need to have a proper ESG framework, to operate and to attract investment. There is no way around it or “greenwashing” it anymore. ESG is here and people engage and respect it.
Where does art fit into those conversations, and how can mining firms leverage art to demonstrate their ESG platforms?
ESG is not just about getting permission to operate. It’s about maintaining and improving the well-being of the community and that can take many forms. Tying art to ESG may be a novel idea to some, but it has huge potential. It is another way for mining firms to demonstrate to their shareholders that they are supportive and connected to their communities. What better way to do that than to have local artists be featured at THE Event, where stakeholders can really see a how a mining firm supports important members of their community, the artists. Artistic expression is essential, and everyone can appreciate some form of art. For communities and cultures in many cases, art is its heart and pride with artists traditionally having the role of keeper of stories; Art can express loss, pain, joy, and can bind communities together with a lasting impact. When a mining company supports an artist, it ultimately bring attention to the community and to the bigger story that speaks to the importance of the role that ESG policies play in improving environments for our global human family. Mining, art and ESG when you think about it, are a natural fit.