The Impact Economy Brief | 5 April


Impact Economy

There’s been a lot happening in Bates Wells’ Impact Economy practice since our celebration in January. If you were unable to attend, you might like to watch the short video that we screened at the party, which explains the ethos of our Impact Economy practice.

We’re planning on sending this fortnightly ‘Brief’ as a helpful reference point and resource to our network, to give you an overview of activity in the Impact Economy. You won’t be surprised to see that we’ve taken a particular interest in legal and regulatory developments.

We hope you find the Brief to be a valuable digest of the things you need to know, and invite you to tell us what you’d like to read more about.

Talk the Talk

As the language of the Impact Economy develops, we’ll add relevant terminology to our Impact Economy Glossary, to help share a common understanding. This week’s jargon is:

“Universal Owner”

Editor’s Pick

If you only have 3 minutes of quiet this week, we recommend…

Capitalism done right: a co-operative system to solve human problems. A blog from UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose considers the economy as a complex social system, which can move from an extractive tradition to being a powerful force for collaborative problem solving.

Impact Business

New B Corps – The B Corp community welcomes newly certified UK/US-based Society Search, and global wealth and asset manager Lombard Odier.

Corporation, business and social trust is a new report published by the British Council as part of its partnership with the Future of the Corporation programme, led by the British Academy. The report considers how corporations can engage in order to improve social trust, a cohesive force in society and for the economy. Pioneers Post reported on the launch event for the report.

BlogHow can your purposeful business use the Evolved Value Framework? Bates Wells hosted an event with Dr Victoria Hurth, University of Plymouth, and GameShift’s Carole Bond, about the Evolved Value Framework. You may also like to read the white paper, The What, the Why and the How of Purpose, co-authored by Dr Hurth.

Business Models and Labour Standards: Making the Connection is a new report by Ethical Trading Initiative, the University of Warwick and King’s College London, which considers how business models are creating downward pressures on labour standards in global supply chains, and what developments could help to address these issues (press release).

PodcastHow Peer-to-Peer Can Change the World. Michel Bauwens, expert and author on the collaborative economy, discusses the rise of the ‘urban commons’ across Europe, including co-ops, community supported agriculture, community land trusts, and other models of collective economic activity, and how technology (particularly blockchain) can support these models for a more sustainable economy.

Impact Investment

The Global Impact Investing Network has published a report, Sizing the Impact Investing Market, providing analysis and estimating the size of that market at $502 billion.

Pioneers Post’s Impact Finance Bulletin. A monthly impact finance round up: news from Belu, Unity Trust Bank, CAF and Power to Change, as well as news from outside the UK.

PodcastSeb Beloe: Impact investing in public markets, the trade-off. Interview with the Head of Research at WHEB Asset Management, a fund manager that seeks to invest in progressive listed companies doing good in the world through their commercial activities.

The EU action plan on financing sustainable growth has been hollowed by the European Parliament. An article in Investment Europe comments on the latest developments on the EU’s action plan for sustainable finance: after voting on the legislative proposals in the EU Parliament last week, reporting requirements will be more limited than first intended.

A longer readImpact investing: Feeling the effects. IPE Real Assets magazine takes a look at impact investing in Real Estate, in the UK and further afield.

Legal and Regulatory

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has published a report, Executive rewards: paying for success, reviewing progress of the Government’s work to reduce the gap between executive pay, company performance and employee pay. The recommendations include a new, stronger regulator to replace the Financial Reporting Council, expanded pay reporting obligations, and publication of last year’s independent review into share buy backs. (For background: press release.)

EventThe Impact Revolution: The Role of Law and Lawyers, 12 April 2019. ESELA – The Legal Network for Social Impact will be holding its annual conference next week in London. The conference will bring together speakers and attendees from across the globe, to participate in workshops and talks on themes relevant to the Impact Economy, including Impact Investing, Profit with Purpose and Systems Change.

PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation launch ‘A Legal Framework for Impact’. The project is intended to address fundamental legal questions on investors’ fiduciary duties, including whether to integrate sustainability factors into decision-making and whether there are legal impediments to investors adopting “impact targets”.

BlogHow do organizations demonstrate a positive privacy impact? Bates Wells’ Victoria Hordern writes on how GDPR compliance and the role of the DPO plays into good governance and increasing trust in business. (This article originally appeared in the March 2019 edition of The Privacy Advisor, a publication of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.)

The Government has published its consultation on social value in government procurement. The proposed framework aims to support key social outcomes through government procurement decisions, and level the field for small and social businesses and community organisations when bidding. This announcement was covered by BBC News: Businesses urged to ‘do more’ to win public contracts.

Disclaimer – The information contained in this briefing is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of third party reports, news, podcasts and other materials, as well as some content produced by Bates Wells where indicated as such, which we think will be of interest to those working in the Impact Economy. This content is necessarily of a general nature; it does not constitute advice, and specific advice should always be sought for specific situations.


This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of April 5, 2019.