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Spotlight on our Natural Resources Practice

July 2023
 by Jess Shelver

Spotlight on our Natural Resources Practice

July 2023
 By Jess Shelver

Our Natural Resources Practice supports some of the biggest names in the field of natural resources, providing in-depth analysis and a unique strategic approach to reputational management and navigating digital risks. Here we take a few minutes to answer some questions about how the practice works, and the support it provides.

1. What threats and risks are our natural resources clients facing today?

The key issue is public concern about the impact of natural resource extraction on the environment, and the increasing hostility towards companies operating in the natural resources sector as fears about climate change intensify. Decarbonisation and the transition to net zero are complex and long-term initiatives, requiring effective communication and control over online discourse.

Environmental activists and NGOs are often vocal on digital platforms about the impacts of resource extraction, which can detract from the good practice that companies wish to highlight. When activists, critics, and NGOs take to social media to campaign against the extraction of natural resources, their stories often filter through to traditional media, with an impact on the affected company’s online footprint and the content that appears when online research is conducted into it. This can have a knock-on effect on stakeholders, including analysts, consultants and shareholders.

There is also increasing concern over the displacement of communities for resource extraction, and other ESG issues. Positive examples of effective community engagement and compensation can be lost amongst digital campaigning and the rapid spread of negative news stories online. Natural resource operators, such as extractors, work hard to comply with stringent ESG requirements, participating in online engagement with targeted stakeholders including local employee groups and local public authorities. In a world where the focus on ESG continues to increase, it is vital that such engagement is well-managed.

2. What kind of clients do we work with?

Our Natural Resources team works with high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), people in the public eye, and a variety of businesses and organisations who are seeking to manage their online narrative. This includes mining operations, luxury brands, and companies dealing in precious metals.

Engagement with us is not always crisis-driven: working on a proactive basis enables us to build resilience into our clients’ online search profiles, helping to protect them against potential negative narratives in the future.

3. What are the skills and backgrounds of the people working in the Natural Resources Practice, and how do they work together to provide solutions to our clients?

Our Natural Resources Practice is made up of members of our Client Advisory and Digital Risk teams, working together to offer tailored solutions. We use our extensive experience in corporate crisis management and reputation management to analyse digital intelligence gathered from open sources.

Jess Shelver, Managing Director and Head of the Client Advisory team, leads our Natural Resources Practice. Jess is a highly-experienced corporate advisory professional, advising governments, HNWIs, and FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies in long-term engagements and crisis situations.

Jess works closely with Tom Head, a Senior Associate in the Client Advisory team, who is experienced in providing strategic advice to high-profile companies.

Carys Whomsley, a Director on the Digital Risk team, lends expertise in corporate intelligence and investigations. She specialises in cross-border litigation support investigations, ESG and reputation-focused due diligence work, and helping high-profile business leaders manage their privacy and security.

The Practice is also supported by other members of the Digital Risk team with a specialism in natural resources companies, particularly in emerging markets.

4. What unique services can Digitalis provide to the Natural Resources sector?

We use a combination of specialist tools and services to help us understand how search engines work and the spread of information. We optimise the strategy for each client to ensure their online narrative and reputation are brought under their own control.

Our unique, proprietary technology enables us to provide both proactive and reactive services to our natural resources clients. It helps us to promote favourable online content, useful in both routine communications and crisis situations. Our tech tools include a factor extractor which allows us to decipher all the on- and off-page elements positioning a URL on a search engine, and page change alerts which enable continuous tracking of stories as they unfold.

Our Digital Risk team provides social media mapping of the spread of stories, gauges sentiment surrounding issues, and identifies hostile actors who may be the source of negative coverage.

5. How can Digitalis help clients who are subject to a new negative narrative, and find themselves in a crisis?

The team has a wealth of experience in dealing with negative narratives and crisis management, and combined with our technology, this enables us to give clients a full picture of the scale of the problem and create a tailored, actionable plan to remedy it.

Our Client Advisory team is on hand, working alongside clients’ PR teams who provide communications expertise. Our Digital Risk team also plays a vital role, mapping the spread of narratives across social media and the indexed web, pinpointing their source, determining whether any hostile parties are active, and finding signs of coordinated inauthentic behaviour driving the spread of narratives.

Our SERP team can work on a medium- to long-term basis with clients, providing a strategy that will rank positive stories further up the SERP ranking and enable effective management of a client’s online profile. And our content team helps clients optimise existing digital assets or create new ones to enable their online profile to be within their control.

Our Natural Resources Practice teams are regulars at mining conferences across the globe, and provide extensive support to some of the biggest names in the field of natural resources, providing them with analysis and a unique strategic approach to reputational management and navigating digital risks. To talk to us about how we can support your organisation’s unique objectives, please contact Jess Shelver.

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