Welcome to the latest edition of Bates Wells’ Impact Economy Brief.
Our fortnightly ‘Brief’ is intended to be a helpful reference point and resource for our network, providing 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:
If you only have 5 minutes of quiet this week, we recommend…
What’s the ROI of Purpose? 6 Steps Toward a Better Business. A blog from Conscious Company explores the returns of properly embedded business purpose, in relation to preserving trust, developing a workforce and encouraging innovation.
The clearest sign of a company’s corporate conscience is what it lobbies for. Business Insider considers the contradiction between some corporations’ public statements and their private lobbying activities, and the concept of “corporate political responsibility”.
Event – 9/10 July – ICSA Annual Conference 2019 – ‘The Future Board’. Sessions will focus on how boards orient themselves around a strong organisational purpose, build resilience, identify and manage market disruption, and harness new tech. There’s a new stream: Ethics, Culture and Purpose, featuring business cases and best practice on purpose beyond profit, ESG investment, boardroom behaviour and corporate culture.
‘There is no more room for excuses on social value’. Andrew O’Brien, Director of External Affairs at Social Enterprise UK, writes for Civil Society, urging that the government should go further than proposed in its consultation on social value in public procurement. Bates Wells responded to the consultation, which closed this month.
Blog – Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence: A business perspective. Adidas’ In-house Counsel (Human Rights), William Anderson, writes for the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre on the inevitability of mandatory human rights due diligence obligations for business.
New B Corp – The B Corp community welcomes newly-certified, UK-based Yala Jewellery, which offers jewellery that is ethically and sustainably produced in Kenya, with the aim of providing financial opportunities for artisans working in the informal sector, particularly women.
Podcast – Investment Trends to Watch in the Second Half of 2019. Equilibrium Capital’s Dave Chen discusses the big private equity players getting into impact investing, on ImpactAlpha’s podcast series, “Institutional Shift”.
Why EU legislation could herald a boom in ESG investing. Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors and member of the EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, writes for Responsible Investor about how draft legislation within the EU’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance could affect retail investors, and the breadth of its definition of sustainable investments.
Blog – What if we put the power of financial innovation to work on our most urgent social challenges? The Finance Innovation Lab reports on its ideation programme, in partnership with Fair by Design. Attendees at events in London, Edinburgh and Bristol generated 14 new ideas for how financial innovation could tackle the poverty premium, contribute towards inclusive growth and support the transition to a carbon neutral economy.
Equality Impact Investing – from principles to practice. A new report from the Dartington Hall Trust, produced through research among a range of stakeholders and aiming to show what impact investing can do to advance equality. Pioneers Post comments on the new report.
Blog – Six actions for investors interested in gender lens investing. Big Society Capital’s Investment Director, Karen Ng, reflects on her key takeaways from GIIN’s Gender Lens Initiative working group, including signposts to relevant research and toolkits.
Legal and Regulatory
TCFD: 2019 Status Report. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures has published its annual report, providing an overview of current disclosure practices as they relate to the Task Force’s recommendations, to support effective capital-allocation in pursuit of the Paris Agreement goals, and outlining the Task Force’s plans to help address implementation challenges. The PRI Association carries a blog that comments on the report.
Decarbonisation of the UK Economy and Green Finance inquiry. The Treasury Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the decarbonisation of the UK economy and green finance, which will scrutinise the role of HM Treasury, regulators and financial services firms in supporting the Government’s climate change commitments, as well as the economic potential of decarbonisation in terms of jobs and growth.
The BEIS Select Committee has published the Government’s response to the Committee’s report on the Future of Audit. A press release contains a response from the Chair of the Committee, pressing for urgent reform in the interests of businesses, investors, pension-holders and the public.
PLSA asks to meet FTSE 100 execs to lift workforce reporting standards. The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has invited business leaders to meet with pension schemes to discuss their reporting of working practices on issues such as workforce diversity, pay and mental health. This follows a PLSA report in April that found many companies fail to disclose on socially-impactful workforce issues beyond the minimum statutory requirements.
Closing the Gender Pay Gap: Key Policies and Measures. Noting the persistence of a substantive gender pay gap across the EU, the Council of the European Union has called for member states to introduce, or improve, measures to ensure gender equality in education, work and the reconciliation of work and family life (press release.)
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.
All content on this page is correct as of June 21, 2019.