The Impact Economy Brief | 2 August

Welcome to the latest edition of Bates Wells’ Impact Economy Brief.

Impact Economy

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:

“Carbon transition risk”

Editor’s Pick

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

Business Sustainability: Natura Shows an Authentic Commitment to Purpose.  Co-founder of B Lab, Jay Coen Gilbert, considers the sale of Avon to B Corp Natura as the first time that a board of directors of an existing U.S.-listed, publicly traded company has voted to upend shareholder primacy.

Impact Business

Radio – BBC Global Business: Business making an impact. Radio programme on the impact economy featuring, among others, B Lab, Prof. Colin Mayer CBE of Saïd Business School, Dutch pension fund ABP,  Blueprint for Better Business and the City of Liverpool. 

Circular Transition Indicators: Proposed metrics for business, by business is a new set of metrics for transitioning to the circular economy, produced by a working group of 20+ global companies and published for consultation by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; explanatory webinars will be held and the consultation closes 31 August 2019.

Podcast – Cordant Group: How the capitalist business model can be used for social good. The Ethical Compass podcast interviews Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser of Cordant Group, about Cordant’s transition to being a social enterprise, and his views on business’ role in society.

The Guardian reports that Unilever warns it will sell off brands that hurt the planet or society, noting comment from Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, that consumers want brands with purpose.

Discover the Circular Economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a learning hub for the circular economy, including podcasts, videos and suggestions on how to move away from linear resource consumption.

Blog –Parity on Purpose: how businesses and the public sector can help one another make a difference. Bates Wells’ David Hunter writes about purpose in the private and public sectors, with a focus on social value in procurement and impact businesses.

Impact Investment

Big Society Capital has published its Consultation Response on Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), setting out its recommendations and stating that it believes there to be the potential, over the next 5 years, to enable an additional £65 million of SITR investment (press release).

The Impact Investing Institute announces the appointment of its first CEO, Sarah Gordon, formerly Business Editor at the FT and panel member of the independent inquiry into the future of civil society.

Foundations and impact investing: Why the heck is it taking so long? Pioneers Post features opinion from Felix Oldenburg, Association of German Foundations, on what’s needed to unlock the full potential of foundations in developing the impact investment market. Part of the Pioneers Post/EVPA Impact Papers series.

Fast & Fair: Renewable Energy Investments – A practical guide for investors is a new report from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, offering learnings from its surveys of renewable energy companies and investor engagement, and insights from organisations including the UN PRI and the London School of Economics, to help investors play a role in improving human rights performance in the renewable energy sector.

Podcast –Conduit Conversations: Mark Campanale, Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative discusses the importance of aligning capital markets with climate change, and how his visit to the Vatican will affect the future of the energy industry.

Legal and Regulatory

Under Scrutiny. Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive at the Centre for Public Scrutiny, writes for ICSA’s Governance & Compliance magazine about ENGIE UK’s Responsible Business Charter and ‘scrutiny board’, the movement of CSR from silo to core of governance, and restoring public trust.

BEIS has published a new report, Research and analysis: Share repurchases, executive pay and investment, on its research into whether share buybacks are having a detrimental impact on company investment, growth and productivity, and being used to meet earnings per share targets rather than to create long-term value in the company.

The Risk Coalition, a network of professional bodies and membership organisations committed to raising standards of risk management in the UK, has published for consultation its principles and guidance for board risk committees and risk functions in the UK financial services sector, designed to develop and encourage best practice. The consultation closes 20 September 2019.

The FRC has issued a consultation proposing changes to the UK’s Ethical and Auditing Standards, including more stringent ethical rules for auditors in response to findings from audit enforcement cases and audit inspections. The FRC also proposes to enhance the quality and content of auditor’s reports in order to improve transparency (press release). The consultation closes 27 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 2, 2019.