“Imagine a world where everyone could say “I know where my money goes and the positive impact it has – as a tax payer, saver, consumer”. A world where investing with impact is not at the expense of financial return. This report shows this is already emerging and provides a vision and a plan for putting purpose at the heart of our economy. When this happens, we’ll build markets people trust and in turn that will drive innovation. We’ll have environments that enable business and people to flourish. We’ll have dynamic organisations, growing sustainably. We’ll have a vibrant economy.”
Sacha Romanovitch, CEO Grant Thornton
Last Monday I attended the launch of the UK National Advisory Board (NAB) for Impact Investing’s launch of its new report – The Rise of Impact. You can find a copy of the report here.
The UK NAB is the UK’s voice in a Global Steering Group of 15-member states plus the EU, which was established as the successor to the Social Impact Investment Taskforce set up during the UK presidency of the G8. It is composed of a diverse group of senior leaders drawn from across the public, private and non-profit sectors of the economy, united by a single vision: “to build an inclusive and sustainable economy” by ensuring that “measurable impact is regularly embraced as a deliberate driver in investment and business decisions, to create better outcomes for all stakeholders and wider society”.
The report sets out a five-point strategy to harness impact investing and purposeful business to help tackle some of the UK’s most pressing societal challenges at scale.
- Adopting an inclusive and sustainable investment agenda for the UK, unlocking additional institutional capital that can help address key social challenges in the UK, such as affordable housing, social care, and support for communities in the UK that are being left behind
- Empowering savers to invest in line with their values, to meet the significant demand from retail investors for their money to be invested for the good of society as well as generate a financial return
- Strengthening the UK’s role in international development finance, by breaking down siloes between existing efforts and unlocking additional capital and actors to help address the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries
- Putting purpose at the heart of public procurement,to generate the maximum social value from the UK Government’s ~£240 billion in outsourced public spending
- Accelerating the rise of purposeful business, by supporting all businesses— regardless of age, size or industry— to embrace some form of social purpose, helping them to thrive in the long run
The evening brought together 200 business leaders and influencers in the impact investment space and was kicked off by conversation with Sir Ronald Cohen, Co founder of Apex Partners and Chair of the Global Seering Group on Impact investing, and David Blood, Co- Founder of Generation Investment Management.
This set the tone for the panel discussion which brought together steering group members from across the chapters:
- Cliff Prior – CEO of Big Society Capital
- Catherine Howarth – CEO of ShareAction
- James Perry Entrepreneur and Co Founder of B Lab UK
- Hazel Blears – Chair of Social Investment Business, form MP of Salford
- Matt Robinson – Chief of Staff of CDC
The key messages of this work are:
- THIS IS A HUGE OPPORTUNTY: UK NAB’s recommendations highlight the opportunity to evolve our traditional investment model, enable better collaboration between the public, private and non-profit sectors, and unlock an additional £300 billion into investments that directly address social and environmental challenges like housing shortages, climate change and social care provision.
- WE HAVE AN IMPERATIVE TO ACT: Urgent action is required from Government, investors and businesses to support the rise of an impact economy in the UK if we are to have any hope of helping left-behind communities and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- THE UK CAN SHOW GLOBAL LEADERSHIP (AGAIN): The UK has led the development of impact investing since 2000, and can now become a global hub for talent, ideas and capital