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Applying SROI and social value thinking to enhance impact – from not-for-profits to mining

Courtney Shearer is a financial analyst, management consultant and Certified Public Accountant with over four decades of experience. He is a Principal at Larkspur Consulting where he mainly advises not-for-profits, public organizations, and educational institutions. He has also worked with for-profit companies in the energy sector, and serves as the CFO of Common Good Mining, a BC Benefit Corp looking to do mining in a way that maximizes returns for everyone — stakeholders, shareholders, and the environment.  

Courtney took an SROI course with Social Value Canada, and we interviewed him about how he has applied the learning to his work.  

What was your motivation for taking the Social Value and SROI training course? 

Our Company, Larkspur Consulting Inc., provides capital project planning, funding strategy and project management services for Not-for-Profit organizations, post-secondary education organizations, school boards and First Nations communities.  

Taking the SROI training was a means to enable us to show many grant and government funders how Social Value is a very important and tangible portion of the overall benefits that those organizations and communities create for society.  The social values were previously to be seen as “soft” benefits, but SROI allows many of these to be monetized now, so the overall greater economic impact on society can be realized. 

What was your experience of the course(s)? 

I learned enough to perform a forecasting SROI for – a Calgary client. This was for a business case that Larkspur had prepared for them to show the impacts and benefits for getting high-acuity (e.g., mental health, substance abuse and physical health issues) clients into a proposed Place-Based Supportive Housing facility.  

I worked with a Canadian Level 3 Practitioner which enabled me to present the SROI analysis with confidence that it aligned to SVI norms and practice. 

How have you applied the training, and social value thinking, to your work with Common Good Mining?  

Common Good Mining is looking to engage communities and have both financial and social partnerships with them in order to develop mineral properties for economic and social value.  

We are looking to have a relationship with a First Nation such that they are interested in participating in an SROI to show how our new mining model with a community partnership providing mutual governance, can create many positive financial and environmental impacts along with overarching positive social values. 

How does Common Good Mining create social value?  

By having a very small footprint mine and processing, the environmental footprint is greatly reduced.  The mine will be looking to utilize alternate energy sources that may be left in place for the community and long-term benefit. Examples of this could be any of: small hydroelectric, solar, wind or geothermal. 

What excites you about Social Value Canada and our mission? 

To enable funders and governments to see the tangible value created in social impacts and values in a way that people who normally judge business cases and business plans solely on financial benefits can interpret and understand.