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Building awareness of our dependence on responsible natural resources

November 2017

There is no other non-profit group doing the kind of work we are doing to support the natural resources - the unsung engine of the British Columbia economy.

With anti-industry vested interests continuing their well-funded misinformation campaigns designed to weaken the will of our elected politicians and undermine the authority of independent regulatory processes, the case for supporting Resource Works becomes even stronger. Through 2017, we have continued to use communications methods not unlike those employed by the extensive anti-resource movement. The big difference is that our campaigns are backed by solid information and science in respectful support of nation-building values and priorities.

Since launching in 2014, Resource Works has become widely recognized as a credible, authentic voice for common sense advocating for fact-based decisions in B.C.’s resource economy. We have carefully built a reputation for collaborating not just with your industry but also supporting sectors, First Nations, and governments of all levels and affiliations.  

Whether it is marches in the streets of Vancouver or politicians who quaver at the thought of making decisions in support of job-creating projects, everywhere today are signs that strong forces exist to oppose investment and opportunity.

The traditional responses have not been working. Resource Works represents a better path. In our first four years we have shown that when we stand together and speak with one voice on the importance of exports in British Columbia, we can make a difference. We are creating a safe space for respectful, informed conversation and it is possible to keep growing it.

Our executive director, Stewart Muir, has become a go-to person for the news media looking to get a balancing perspective, and he is also an in-demand public speaker around B.C. and Canada, regularly addressing groups that are seeking better tools for dealing with complexity in the public space. His long experience in media enables this work to have a disproportionate impact.

 

2017 highlights

Newsletter– We continued to produce and email this product fortnightly to more than 5,500 subscribers and growing. The strategy here is to support like-minded people with solid information they can use every day. We employ state of the art campaigning tools to manage our audience database, just like major anti-industry groups such as Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation. 

Website – We use our site to host two-three original articles a week looking at current events from a fresh and fact-based perspective. The site is also where we host our original research publications that provide the intellectual foundation for our communications work. Some of our programs on the site:

Naturally Resourceful program – Greener and more efficient use of our precious natural resources can only come from harnessing technology. In the Naturally Resourceful series, Resource Works writer Don Hauka looked at British Columbia tech companies that are on the leading edge of this transformation. This series will continue into 2018.

Energy in Transition – We commissioned an energy expert to examine the issue of transition to a lower-carbon economy. The result was a fascinating six-part series covering all aspects of the story. 

#Resource Progress – We worked with Canadian born, Australian based Tony Morley on this series of narrative infographics featured daily in our Twitter (@Resource_Works) feed as well as on Facebook, with the unifying hashtag #ResourceProgress.

Social media– a daily Twitter feed of approximately 15-20 tweets provides a resource-positive narrative flow aimed at journalists, industry communicators, policymakers and politicians. In Facebook, we produce mass-market posts aimed at building broader recognition of the many benefits that come from Canada’s commodity exports. Resource Works has earned a Klout Score of 63, an increase of five points since 2016. That's a great measure of social media influence. This rank is of most similar organizations including many that have been around for decades.

Debates – Few speakers are positioned the way Stewart Muir of Resource Works is to bring a neutral, informed voice in support of responsible resource development to some of the most contested conversations. Twice this year, he took up the cause of safe crude oil exports, facing some prominent and well practised voices advocating for diminished resource prospects. 

Research – Much of our work consists of amplifying the abundant original research from think tanks and other sources. Where we see gaps, we continue to produce expanded reports. In September 2017, our study on the Vancouver's climate policies led to the publication of a study by Karen Graham describing what we called the "de facto" ban on natural gas. The study was widely reported in the media, with Stewart making multiple radio appearances on Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary stations. We also published an extensive report on efforts to strengthen climate resiliency in forestry.

Advisory Council – Our loyal Advisory Council members lend their names, faces and reputations to this project and in that we are very fortunate. Getting this group of successful individuals into one spot and one time is always a challenge. Nevertheless we do have some very engaged and hard-working members. On Nov. 29, we'll be coming to the close of 2017 with a public event that will showcase these members as well as advance other elements of our agenda.

Influencing policy – During 2017, Stewart took part in the Positive Energy program at the University of Ottawa, attending two workshops where the future of energy regulation was the topic. Stewart attended the Generation Energy conference in Winnipeg and supported pro-resource viewpoints during it through a variety of measures. Following the change of government in British Columbia, we have met with relevant ministers – Energy & Mines; Forestry; Jobs – to ensure they are aware of our openness to work with them to support good public policy. 

Events – Our 2017 Natural Resource Symposium set the stage for the year by bringing together thought leaders from a variety of viewpoints. Resource Works participated in the Natural Resource Forum in Prince George in January when our chairman, John Turner, attended and met with many resource leaders. Stewart spoke at two Nation2Nation forums connecting aboriginal entrepreneurs with wider networks. And he took part in numerous other public events as the face of Resource Works.

A broader story – In March, Resource Works produced a 15-minute video showcasing disruptive innovation in Canadian mining and mineral exploration. It was subsequently screened at a conclave in New Delhi attended by our Stewart Muir. The event was attended by 11 of India's federal ministers. We've been working on our technical partnership supporting the massive Resources for Future Generations conference to be held in Vancouver in June 2018.

Campaigns – Our premier campaign of the year was Making It Work, a social media effort intended to make the connection between good paying jobs and the resource-based economy. The audience was residents of electorally critical areas of suburban Metro Vancouver. For the first time we partnered with the BC Chamber of Commerce to support their agenda to enhance resource literacy among their members (see image below). We have launched a number of sub-campaigns in support of LNG, mining, community responsibility and jobs.  


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Network building – at a provincial and national level, our executive director Stewart Muir continues to build action-oriented relationships with chambers of commerce, business, trade and industry associations, trade unions, governments, First Nations, and individuals. He has recently been included in national-level conversations on how to promote resource literacy on a broader scale. Stewart has been working with groups including Energy Citizens and the Modern Miracle Network to spread our messages. 

In summary, it was an incredibly busy year. In some ways, it is clear we are making progress: more people are using our messages and research and we have more followers than ever. However, it is discouraging to see all the lost opportunities and new barriers being placed in front of progress. Turning the corner is a long-term commitment. We hope that those who've been around this far are prepared to continue to invest in improving the conversation.

Contact information

Stewart Muir, Executive Director, Resource Works Society

stewart@resourceworks.com 

c. 250 589-6747

 

 

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