The Impact Economy Brief | 16 August

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:

“Community shares”

Editor’s pick

If you only have 5 minutes of quiet this week, we recommend…

Piffle or pertinent: Does your company have a meaningful purpose? Richard Aldwinckle, former  Sustainability & Purpose Adviser to Unilever, blogs for The Blueprint Trust about the FTSE100’s response to the requirement in the UK Corporate Governance Code for premium listed companies to “establish the company’s purpose”, and highlights the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s work on purpose and sustainability.

Impact Business

Letters to a New Chair. Tomorrow’s Company, in partnership with KPMG Board Leadership Centre, has refreshed and relaunched the letters, which consider how concepts such as culture, values, long-term sustainability and purpose have become key cornerstones of good governance.

Blog – Why measuring impact is good business. Bates Wells’ Anita Shah, Senior Manager in our Advisory and Impact team, writes about the value that comes from good impact management.

Clothes designed to grow as children age could mean savings for parents while cutting waste. Businesses creating green alternatives to plastic bottles and synthetic materials are being backed by new funding from the Government and Sky Ocean Ventures, Sky’s impact investment fund.  

Machine learning vs. climate change: AI for the greener good. This blog for DigitalAgenda looks at the ways AI could help fight climate change, including through scheduling and dispatching in the field of renewable energy, reducing transport emissions, and analysing satellite data on emissions.

‘If there is to be a just low-carbon transition companies can’t ignore their workers’. ShareAction writes for Ethical Corporation about the Workforce Disclosure Initiative, a coalition of 125+ investors managing more than £10 trillion ($13 trillion), in light of its 2018 survey of listed companies regarding their direct workforce and supply chains.  

Podcast – Inclusive ownership. Reflecting on the recent move by Richer Sounds to an employee ownership model, Marjorie Kelly, Executive VP and Senior Fellow of The Democracy Collaborative, and Mathew Lawrence, director of think tank Common Wealth, consider the pros and cons of employee ownership in the UK and US.

Impact Investment

Blog – What social enterprises tell us they want: shift in power dynamics between investors and investees. Head of Strategy and Market Development, Stephen Muers, writes about Big Society Capital’s approach to creating more balance between investment parties.

Podcast – Global Canopy: How Impact Investment Can Save The Planet, with Andrew Mitchell, international thought leader on natural capital finance and Senior Advisor and founder of think tank Global Canopy. Andrew describes his path from understanding how crucial rainforests are, to using strategic investment to protect the environment.

EVPA reports that DOEN Participaties and a group of investors are investing 2 million euros in Naïf. The investment is intended to enable Naïf to make the cosmetic market more sustainable with new products, and pursue growth.

KKR Tops $1 Billion Fundraising Goal for Global Impact Fund. Bloomberg reports that investment firm KKR & Co. may have exceeded the $1 billion fundraising goal for its first Global Impact Fund, to invest in businesses working on solutions to global challenges identified by the UN SDGs.

A longer read – More than values: The value-based sustainability reporting that investors want. McKinsey comments on the findings of its survey of 107 executives and investors, representing 50 companies, 27 asset managers and 30 asset owners, across Asia, Europe and the US, and stakeholder interviews, on the utility of sustainability reporting and how investors can encourage standards that deliver the information they need.

Legal and Regulatory

Climate Bonds Initiative first out the blocks with EU taxonomy-aligned green bond certification. Responsible Investor reports that the Climate Bonds Initiative’s standards board has approved the world’s first EU-compliant green bond standards, which will launch next month.

Call for participation: Dialogue on climate-related reporting. The European Reporting Lab is seeking input from users of corporate reporting information, to develop good practice in reporting climate-related disclosures. Expressions of interest are sought by 17 September 2019.

Consultation: The future definition of public service mutuals. The Government is consulting on the definition of public service mutuals, to help raise awareness of the benefits of the model, strengthen the concept and provide clarity for social sector organisations. The consultation closes 30 September 2019.

Responses to the Government’s consultation on Corporate Transparency and Register Reform have been published by a number of organisations, including Transparency International, the BVCA and ICAEW.  For an additional perspective, BEIS has published a research paper, Review of the implementation of the PSC Register, exploring the costs and effectiveness of the PSC register in promoting corporate transparency.

The FRC’s draft Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) Taxonomy is open for consultation. The SECR taxonomy would be an addition to the FRC’s Taxonomies suite, to reflect new reporting requirements for energy and carbon data introduced earlier this year. The consultation closes 30 September 2019.


If you’d like to speak to us about our work in the Impact Economy, please get in touch.

If you’d like to speak to us about the Brief, please contact our editor, Phillippa Holland.

Sign up to the Brief

If you’d like to sign up for our Impact Economy Brief or any of our other mailings, please click on this link.

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 August 16, 2019.