Applicable SDG: SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Lundin Foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Lundin Group of Companies – 13 publicly traded resource development companies operating in 25 countries with a market cap of $20 B USD. The Foundation’s mission is to leverage the full potential of resource development projects to create local jobs, improve incomes, and spur small business growth –objectives that directly align with UN SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Resource development projects involve significant capital investment over multiple years and hold enormous potential to catalyze resilient and inclusive economies. However, significant barriers prevent communities from accessing employment and economic opportunities stemming from resource development investments resulting in little benefits accruing at the local level. Community members lack education and specialized skills needed to access employment opportunities while local small businesses struggle to meet the standards required by resource development companies to provide goods and services. Community members and entrepreneurs lack opportunities and resources to innovate and launch businesses to solve these challenges. Through well designed initiatives and a strong commitment from all parties, these barriers can be overcome, propelling employment, income and economic benefits for local communities in line with SDG 8.
The Foundation channels its expertise, resources and partnerships to address the barriers and challenges to achieving SDG 8 in communities surrounding resource operations. Through designing and implementing market-based initiatives and providing financing solutions, the Foundation creates meaningful local employment, income and economic benefits focusing on these key areas:
At the core of the Foundation’s approach is the recognition of the importance small businesses play in economies around the world; small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 90% of all businesses in the world and are responsible for 70% of all jobs (https://www.ilo.org/infostories/en-GB/Stories/Employment/SMEs#intro). Enabling the growth of SMEs has a significant economic ripple effect. However, SMEs face growth challenges including lack of access to financing, management gaps and access to markets and commercial opportunities. The Foundation believes that achieving SDG 8 requires dedication and commitment to support the growth of SMEs by taking advantage of the competencies of the private, non-profit and public sectors to offer innovative solutions.
The Foundation leverages its unique position as a non-profit organization that works in partnership with resource development companies around the world to tackle challenges facing SMEs. The Foundation offers flexible financing and strategic grants to build the capacity of SMEs; technical and commercial expertise is provided to help SMEs grow their businesses and meet the requirements of resource development companies. Critically, the Foundation collaborates with resource development companies to understand their purchasing and workforce needs and match these needs with skilled workers and capable local suppliers.
Investing in small businesses and supporting employment opportunities can have a significant multiplier effect. In 2019, in partnership with our corporate partners, the Foundation invested $5.6 M USD into 37 initiatives that in turn, supported 703 small businesses. These SMEs generated $55 M USD in revenue, supported 2,776 jobs, and helped communities earn $9.6 M USD in household income. Our programs also supported 230 women-led businesses and helped launch 85 social and environmental innovations that have a further effect on advancing gender equality (SDG 5), climate action (SDG 13) and innovation (SDG 9).
Two specific examples further highlight the multiplier effect of investing and supporting SMEs:
These results reflect the importance of the objectives of SDG 8 and its central role in the Foundation’s mandate. More importantly, by investing in small businesses and supporting employment opportunities, the Foundation is able to unlock the underlying entrepreneurial potential that will have a lasting impact in the communities that we serve.
The Foundation manages a $12M USD portfolio with over 37 programs dedicated to creating employment, income and small business benefits for local communities, directly contributing to Target 8.2, Target 8.3 and Target 8.5 within SDG 8.
The following are flagship programs that demonstrate the Foundation’s contribution to the SDG 8 targets:
Target 8.2-Improving economic productivity through local value addition and diversification into sustainable seafood: In the community of Caldera, Chile, artisan fisher folk relied on selling their daily catch to third-party intermediaries that sold their products to clients at a substantial profit. A local fishing union spent more than a decade trying to reactivate a dilapidated seafood process plant abandoned years ago. The Foundation, in partnership with Lundin Mining, recognized the potential to upgrade the plant in order to process value-added products and sell directly to clients at a price premium. The Foundation funded the $1 million USD upgrade to international export standards, provided technical and management capacity building, and linked the union to sustainable seafood markets. This solution enabled the union to realize substantial income improvements through selling processed seafood, realizing a price premium for sustainable seafood, and selling directly to clients. Further, more value is retained locally, improving income opportunities through employment and renewed livelihoods for local fisher folk while promoting the diversification into sustainable management of seafood.
Target 8.3-Improving access to financing to small businesses: The Foundation, in partnership with MEDA and DFID, designed and implemented the Turkana Catalyst Initiative (TCI) – a targeted technical assistance and seed financing program supporting small businesses in Turkana, Kenya, the poorest county in Kenya where the poverty rate is 79.5% and small business lack access to training and financing. The program provides a combination of intensive and practical training that supports business owners to apply management concepts to address challenges within each business. TCI’s innovative approach and practical delivery of technical assistance to entrepreneurs with low literacy skills has led to the success of the program.
Target 8.3-Supporting social and environmental startups and innovations in Norway: In partnership with Lundin Energy, the Foundation makes impact investments in early-stage start-ups that address climate change and ocean protection and invests in strengthening the regional ecosystem of incubator programs. In 2016, the Foundation founded the Arctic Accelerator business incubator program to support entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas focused on sustainability related to the Arctic environment and climate. The Accelerator takes an innovative approach to attracting and retaining promising young talent and leverages industry mentors to provide practical industry experience and insight. The program provides training and mentoring for refining a business model, developing prototypes and initial market validation.
Target 8.3-Supporting small agricultural suppliers through training and financing: Takataii, which means “farming the land” in the Shuar Indigenous language, was developed to support Catering Las Peñas (CLP), a locally-owned catering company serving the Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador. The Foundation has been supporting CLP since its inception in 2015. With the success of CLP, which by its third year was achieving 175% year-over-year revenue growth, the company worked with the Foundation to create Takataii, a targeted program that helps develop local farmers to become CLP fruit and vegetable suppliers through technical assistance, business management training and micro-financing. The innovative Takataii program has enabled the growth of 177 small local agricultural producers into the Fruta del Norte supply chain.
Target 8.3-Incubating social and environmental innovations: The Inventa program, implemented in partnership with Lundin Mining and Chrysalis in Chile, provides training, technical assistance, coaching and start-up capital to support entrepreneurs to launch businesses that solve a local social or environmental challenge. Community members complete an entrepreneurship boot camp culminating in the most promising innovations being selected to proceed to a business incubator program. To date, over 1130 people have completed the program. The successful entrepreneurs develop a business plan, access specialized resources, prototype their innovations, market their business, pitch to investors and successfully launch their businesses. The program has proven to be an incredible community engagement tool and showcased the ingenuity of entrepreneur to solve the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing their community.
Target 8.5-Training a local qualified workforce: High school education was a pre-requisite to qualify for the long-term operator positions at the Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador. With extremely low levels of high school completion in the region, the Foundation embarked on a 4-year journey to ensure local community members qualified for the long-term employment positions at the mine. The Foundation delivered an accelerated flexible high school diploma program supporting over 200 community members to complete their high school education which paved the way for them to become eligible for specialized training and employment programs. This was closely followed by a Training for Operations program consisting of specialized underground and process-plant operator training. The program resulted in 315 students graduating and enabled community members to be first in-line for long term jobs.
In 2019, our investments supported 703 small businesses which generated $55M in revenue, a 45% annual increase. These businesses supported 2,776 jobs and helped communities earn $9.6M USD in household income, a 51% increase from 2018. With our partners, we also supported 230 women-led businesses and helped launch 85 social and environmental innovations.
Mariano Palacios’ Story: For 40 years Palacios has fished the waters of Caldera. His career at sea began as a shore-picker, “a way that I was able to bring a livelihood to my family,” explains the father of eight. As President of the Union, Palacios has spent more than a decade trying to reactivate the facility owned by the union and abandoned more than 12 years ago. “The times we wanted to move the plant forward, we did not succeed. We had to solve several long-standing problems to get the credibility of different actors to help us,” he says. In recent years, the livelihoods of Caldera fisherfolk have been heavily impacted by limited markets. “ the plant has everything necessary for workers to feel comfortable in their workplace, with the latest technology, equipment and processes we didn’t have before,” says Palacios.
For more information on this program’s impact, please visit the following links:
Jairo Armijos’ Story: “We used to plant and harvest available crops without much knowledge or planning. There was no stable market and we weren’t obtaining fair prices for our products. We didn’t even think that new, diverse crops could be feasible on our lands. That changed after joining the Foundation’s Takataii program in 2018, the products that we harvest now are of higher quality. With better seeds, we have better products and can obtain better prices. Our involvement in Takataii helped us to realize our potential.” – Jairo Gustavo Cuenca Armijos, a 29-year-old farmer who, along with his wife, parents and siblings, tends to 12 hectares in Los Encuentros, Ecuador.
Karen Campos’ Story: Karen grew up in a neighborhood of Copiapó, known for its socio-economic challenges. The 29-year-old industrial designer’s university thesis focused on an eco-conscious furniture manufacturing concept called Panalínea. Karen approached Inventa, as the program supports innovations like Panalínea that identify and propose solutions for environmental and social challenges that communities around mines like Copiapó face. “Inventa has supported Panalínea’s growth in offering knowledge of marketing strategies and financing for labour, tools and materials,” says Karen. The impact for herself has been “a radical change in how to observe and do things,” she says. “Now I analyze ideas better before making decisions.”
Jenny Alejandro’s Story: In Los Encuentros, a remote community in Ecuador, 28-year-old Jenny Alejandro struggled to make a living as a beauty professional. While she had an interest in mining, Jenny was trepidatious about pursuing a career she thought was strictly for men. By the end of the program, she felt dramatically different, “I’ve gained a lot of confidence in myself. I not only feel happy to operate equipment, but I also feel excited when I’m inside a truck’s cabin.” Upon graduation, Jenny was offered employment by Lundin Gold as a mine truck operator with a starting income twice the national minimum wage.
Additionally, in 2019, we implemented best practice impact management practices across all programs, undertook post-program assessments, captured gender dis-aggregated data and conducted our first mid-year impact review. We continue to identify how we can better define, measure and strengthen the impact of our work aligning with the SDGs.
Promoting the SDG through digital platforms: Digital platforms such as the Foundation website (https://www.lundinfoundation.org/) and social media accounts (https://www.linkedin.com/company/lundin-foundation/), offer a straightforward and direct opportunity to promote our work and build awareness for SDG 8. Throughout the various pages managed by the Foundation, we reference the importance of the SDGs with a specific emphasis on SDG. We also outline how our initiatives align to the SDGs, and showcase how our work with our corporate partners contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. These platforms are a key tool to engage in debates and empower our audience with knowledge and information facilitating the achievement of the SDGs.
Advocating for SDG 8 within Lundin Group Companies: The Foundation leverages its decade long experience in supporting SMEs through impact investing and market-based solutions to promote understanding of the objectives of SDG 8 within the Lundin Group of Companies. The Foundation works closely with corporate partners to identify key economic opportunities within local economic and operational context develop that is most likely to result in local employment and economic benefits. Each of our programs are supported through a clear link to operations and impact objective for local employment or economic benefit. We have supported many of the Lundin Companies to become members of hte UN Global Compact and participate activily.
Enhancing capacity of the Lundin Group companies to deliver concrete results against SDG 8: The advancement of the SDGs requires a consistent and evidence-based approach to monitoring and managing the impacts and results of initiatives. The Foundation provides strategic guidance for impact management, promoting best practices (ex. Impact Management Project) within the Lundin Group. The Foundation supports partners, including Lundin Gold, Lundin Mining, Bluestone Resources and IPC, to define a strategic impact management framework with clearly defined objectives that are mapped against the SDGs, uses consistent Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and strengthens the capacity of site level teams to measure and manage the impacts of each program. The strategic guidance and support are essential to helping industry achieve the SDGs.
Amplifying good practices across the industry to achieve SDG 8: The Foundation acts as a central hub for sustainability within the Lundin Group of companies and more broadly across the industry. The Foundation leverages this role by leading an environmental, social and governance (ESG) working group that raises awareness and shares good practices among companies to accelerate contributions towards the SDGs. A study conducted by the University of British Columbia Norma B Keevil Institute of Mining focused on how mining sector can create shared value highlighted the unique business model of the Lundin Foundation :
“A distinguishing feature of the Lundin Foundation’s business model is that it must provide value to its corporate partner, helping the mining company to reduce risk, capitalize on market opportunities, and achieve its business goals. As noted earlier, the Foundation’s initiatives complement and extend the mining company’s community relations work, and focus on creating shared value and advancing the agenda of the SDGs”.
The Foundation leads webinars, participates in industry associations and panels, and speaks at industry events to promote the sharing of best practices, innovations and strategies to increase economic benefits to communities surrounding resource development projects to increase employment and economic opportunities aligned to SDG 8.
The UN SDGs have set an ambitious and necessary agenda for a sustainable and prosperous future for all. The Foundation and the Lundin Group of companies continue to identify new strategies and efforts to leverage the core competencies of each partner to advance the SDGs.
Our commitment to unlocking economic resilience in local communities is more important than ever as we support our community stakeholders to cope and recover from the pandemic. In March 2020, we immediately refocused programming to help community stakeholders respond to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Our support has ranged from helping communities and small business address immediate health safety and livelihood needs, support them to pivot their businesses, facilitate online delivery of services, and adoption of good practices for safe return to the workplace. The needs related to SDG 8 have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic; our commitment to the achievement of SDG 8 has deepened as we support small businesses to recover and build resilience to longer term economic impacts.
Part 1: Specific Examples by Country.
In Ecuador, Lundin Foundation has a long partnership with Lundin Gold, supporting local agricultural producers to improve their businesses and provide goods to Lundin Gold. In March 2020, our local suppliers and economic diversification programs faced difficult challenges, not only because of the impacts on people’s health but economically as small businesses struggled due to lock-down restrictions. To mitigate the socioeconomic and health impacts caused by COVID-19, the Lundin Foundation launched a COVID-19 response campaign, which included educational videos on prevention and safety protocols as well as technology and innovative tools to help reactivate businesses and the economy.
To address urgent needs, the Foundation donated food and basic items to vulnerable populations, including the indigenous Shuar Federation of Zamora Chinchipe. Further, to ensure safety in the workplace, producers and local suppliers involved with our programs, including Takataii, received personal protective equipment (PPE) donations and installation of sanitization equipment.
The Foundation is also helping local agricultural suppliers digitize sales channels to maintain and expand customer base during COVID-19 restrictions. The Foundation is developing an e-commerce application to allow small-scale local companies to market and sell their agricultural products in a safe and efficient manner to new and existing clients. In order to ensure the success of this program, the Foundation is combining the digital sales and marketing platform with a training program for 45 local businesses to use digital tools and commercialization strategies.
For more information, please visit the following links:
Lundin Foundation, in partnership with Lundin Mining Corporation (LMC), the Canadian base metals mining company, has been investing in strengthening economic resilience of Askersund Municipality in southern Sweden where LMC Zinkgruvan mine is located. In recognition of the severe and prolonged impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the local economy and livelihoods, the Foundation launched a COVID-19 small business recovery training program. The program was launched in August 2020 to provide local businesses with access to business training on the most relevant business issues including – business model pivots, digital marketing. It is also using the opportunity to help small businesses re-think how it can weave sustainability practices into core business activities.
The program has reached 66 local small businesses through business seminars and 10 local small businesses from the retail, tourism, local manufacturing sectors are receiving in-depth business coaching to support implementation of key business model pivots that will build their resilience to COVID-19. The overall aim of the program is to ensure that local businesses in Askersund can continue to respond to COVID-19 impacts and re-build back into a more resilient and sustainable manner.
The close collaboration with Askersund Municipal Government is among the first public-private efforts to support small business recovery in the region, and is being used as a case study for other municipalities in supporting small business recovery. This collaboration also reflects the important public and private sector collaborations (SDG 17) between public and private sectors that will be necessary to tackle the significant recovery from COVID-19 and ensure communities emerge stronger and more resilient.
In partnership with Lundin Mining, the Lundin Foundation funds a loan guarantee program to enable high risk start-ups to access financing in Michigan USA. The Foundation successfully worked with our partner, Northern Initiatives, to allocate $60k of loan guarantee funds from the Eagle Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund (EEEF) to loans for Marquette-based businesses to support COVID-19 recovery.
Part 2: Lundin Group-Wide Support
The Lundin Foundation also established the COVID-19 Response Working Group for sustainability leads within Lundin Group companies to share strategies and resources. The COVID-19 Response Working Group was established to share lessons learnt and best practices within the Lundin Group of Companies to improve the collective’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in its commitment to promote SDG 8 in the local communities in which they operate.
Topics covered to date include:
Part 3: International Partnerships
Based on the pressing needs to support communities and small businesses to respond and recovery to the pressing challenges of COVID-19, the Foundation forged a new partnership with UNICEF. In October 2020, the Lundin Foundation entered into a three-year partnership with UNICEF Canada to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Early results of the collaboration include:
The Foundation looks forward to collaborating further with UNICEF Canada and Lundin companies to build on this important work.