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Impact Investment in Minerals? Innovation finds a home in Finance – in terms of social responsibility that is, and making a difference.

January 25, 2016, by Emery Brusset Managing Director, Social Terrain


All around the world last year, $80 billion dollars were invested as ‘impact investments’.[1] The trend is growing and changing the way we think about finance, investment, development and corporate responsibility. Emery Brusset, Managing Director at ELL’s new partner, Social Terrain, describes what ‘impact investment’ is and how his company is using it to revolutionize even the most intractable industries: mining and minerals.

Traditional efforts to achieve social or environmental responsibility have tended to focus on grant giving or loans. These approaches work well in some circumstances, but in others have proven to be disappointing and disempowering for local communities and their governments.

Impact investing offers another approach. It is a way of bringing together capital to help non-profit or for-profit social enterprises and charities innovate, grow, and bring solutions to scale. Impact investments are designed to generate verifiable social and/or environmental benefits along with financial returns, which allows a focus on improved outcomes.

At Social Terrain, we develop projects that find high quality investment opportunities that solve intractable social challenges. We have found that there are sustainable and, until recently, untapped, resources, which new financing models are freeing up. These can help solve critical social and environmental challenges; for example, those set out as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Our team is committed to bringing an integrated approach to supply chains and mining sites. Artisanal mining offers many, positive developmental, social, and investment opportunities; it also has many intractable issues and puzzles. This is why our partnership with ELL is so interesting. As a leading consultancy on artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) and responsible sourcing of minerals, ELL has extensive working knowledge of the problems, the opportunities, the players, and the sector.

ELL and Social Terrain are currently in discussion with a number of pioneering mining and mineral companies to create schemes that seek to unite the vast resources of impact investment with responsible mining on the ground. These resources come from public as well as private sector institutions, applied in ways that can be made more strategic, less like separate compartments.

There is a dawning realisation amongst stakeholders in the mining and minerals industries that corporations, philanthropists, standard setters, official aid donors could want the same things. It is in this place of consensus where exciting things are happening. We believe, along with our partners at ELL that this contribution can change the way in which mining companies, societies, governments, and communities tackle the social implications of extraction.

For more information on opportunities for impact investment, please contact Estelle Levin Ltd.at info@estellelevinltd.com

[1]GIIN and J.P. Morgan 2015. Annual Impact Investor Survey. http://www.thegiin.org/knowledge/publication/eyes-on-the-horizon [accessed 17 November 2015]

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