3. Introduction

Ask any executive team the question, “What is an effective way for you to address equity, diversity, and inclusion within your ESG strategy” and answers will range between dead silence and a strategic plan to hire diverse talent. If the group is advanced, you’ll likely hear varying definitions, citations of human capital, and a mission and vision statement that rolls off the tongue like rocks in someone’s mouth. Although complex and currently intangible, organizations are working hard to get it right as social pressure rises.

In January, when Blackrock’s CEO & Chairman, Larry Fink, released its annual letter to CEOs, with it came a call for disclosure. For years Fink’s letter has addressed business leaders providing valuable insights and setting the tone for public companies, market participants, and other stakeholders to better understand Blackrock’s priorities and investor outlook. However, this year brought a call for disclosure of how business models will become compatible with environmental, social, and governance indexes. Fink warned, “Companies ignore stakeholders at their peril – companies that do not earn trust will find it harder and harder to attract customers and talent, especially as young people increasingly expect companies to reflect their values.”1 The increasingly influential player and the world’s largest investment manager made the call to action for companies to explore their ESG measures and disclose them for valuation.

The Canadian mining industry contributes 5% to Canada’s GDP, with 19% of total exports, and the largest industrial employer of Indigenous Peoples. Recognizing the need to respond to social demand, many mining organizations warm their feet to strategy, yet the sentiment remains loud with complexity. Plans of recruiting top diverse talent are in the making, however within the status of the economy and changing demographics, hiring and retaining diverse talent is much more complex than most understand. Similar to unrealized gains, hiring diverse talent looks great on paper, but when belonging is absent impact wavers. As organizations open their minds to the road to recovery, currently paved in the unrealized growth that diverse talent promises to deliver, one must guard against adverse impact, stimulated by a lack of knowledge, understanding, and context.

This whitepaper is for the mining industry, a precursor to a research study that examines the effects of belonging on talent, including the exploration of how diversity and belonging intersect within the mining industry. Meant for executive leaders and their key stakeholders, it provides insights and context for equity, diversity, and inclusion from current research, social justice institutions, behavioral neuroscience, and industrial and organizational psychology, a lens that imparts perspectives for growth and stability.

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