What defines GEMM is our diverse and experienced group of global participants who bring Indigenous, corporate, community, civil society, government and academic perspectives.   We build relationships where interests intersect, help organizations align internally to enable relationships to become assets, and identify practical steps it will take to implement change. GEMM is not a series of conferences; it is a safe place for candid discussion.

Since 2011, GEMM has brought together more than 500 participants from 15 countries globally, with a particular concentration from Latin America. Many have helped shape and lead discussions, contributing expertise and insights.  GEMM participants are our greatest partners.

 Many of these partners told us that GEMM is uniquely positioned to expand its impact by enlarging its platform to focus on the practical steps it will take within companies, communities and governments to implement and embed sustainability and responsibility in the resource sector.  Our response in 2015 was to launch GEMMX Workshops and GEMM Strategy Intensives.

 How is GEMM Distinct?

GEMM engages diverse interests.  To ensure our identity as a multi-party space for constructive dialogue, we offer a number of complementary registrations and travel support to small organizations and individuals.  We manage this with one goal in mind: the integrity and diversity of the GEMM space, where all participants are seeking a different way to engage.

GEMM uses a fictional story presented as a video to provide a safe and constructive platform while keeping discussion grounded on real challenges.  The story is based on events, places, perspectives and people which could be real but are entirely fictional.  The story reflects complex dynamics among diverse players and issues in a region, at a mine site over the course of its life cycle, and the introduction of a new player hoping to develop another property nearby.

Each dialogue is planned and structured around a relevant overarching theme for the year.  The creative process of developing the case video introduces new chapters and takes into account specific themes and questions that are particularly relevant in the sector that year.

In addition to the in person discussion, a private virtual platform hosted on our website supports further contributions on the dialogue themes. The site connects participants, highlights the key insights and outcomes from previous dialogues through a video library.  The use of a video library to share dialogue highlights (rather than a written report) is another example of GEMM’s innovative and unique approach.


Lovely to be with you and so many able and distinguished people. You have done the world a great favor. And you have shown us a great example of how progress occurs: when the world’s great institutions dither inconclusively, a handful of individuals show some leadership and do what needs to be done.  

Luke Danielson, Sustainable Development Strategies Group

 How did GEMM start?

The idea for GEMM originated in 2000 with a recommendation from MMSD (the Mines Minerals and Sustainable Development Initiative) that identified a need for a global forum for ongoing multi-stakeholder engagement.  Two of GEMM’s founders – Glenn Sigurdson and Jim Cooney – had been closely involved in MMSD and other forums such as the Whitehorse Initiative saw a need for identifying best practices and informing responsive research.  Joined by Jessica Bratty in 2011, GEMM started in earnest with an invitational workshop on Mexico, Canada and the Mineral Sector.  The success of this workshop lead to the first large global invitational dialogue in 2012, which GEMM hosted alongside our Founding Partner, Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.  SFU provided start-up financial and organizational support to GEMM until 2014.

GEMM receives funding from a group as diverse as our participants: companies, NGOs, governments and universities.  We also rely on revenue from registration fees.

GEMM has been guided by a respected Steering Committee of leaders in the sector, and benefited from the contributions of our GEMM Interns. We work with local and international partners, including Resolve, a globally respected and Washington DC based solutions focused NGO.