The Impact Economy Brief | 13 September

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:

“Universal owner”

Editor’s Pick

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

Welcome, but Long Overdue is a blog post by Mike Kubzansky, Managing Partner at the Omidyar Network, looking at some of the critiques of the Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, in the context of the Omidyar Network’s work on reimagining capitalism.  

Impact Business

Bates Wells formally recognises the Climate Emergency and has committed to significantly reducing its carbon emissions.

Podcast – Conduit Conversations: Sir Ronald Cohen shares why he believes every business model should have impact at its heart, and gives his advice for the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics? TechCrunch interviews Bas van Abel, founder of Dutch social enterprise Fairphone, about the launch of the Fairphone 3 and the company’s role in innovating towards a circular economy in consumer electronics.

A longer read – Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience is a new report from the Global Commission on Adaptation, outlining key imperatives for climate change adaption and actionable recommendations for how to respond. The findings include that investing $1.8 trillion globally, in five areas from 2020 to 2030, could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has launched a new Transition Minerals Tracker tool, providing data for renewable energy companies, investors and civil society to improve practice during the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Event – Profit with Purpose: Creators of change, 17 September 2019, London. The British Library, in partnership with Expert Impact, will be hosting a free evening event for those interested in social and ethical entrepreneurship, focusing particularly on the creative industries.

Impact Investment

Hype vs reality: What India taught me about investing for impact. Harvey Koh, Managing Director at FSG, writes for the Pioneers Post/EVPA Impact Papers series, asking whether microfinancing is an impact investing success story and proposing ways to improve investing for impact in other sectors, taking learnings from India’s financial inclusion boom.

Blog – Looking ahead to PRI in Person: markets are underprepared for climate-related policy risks. The PRI Association’s Director of Climate Change considers the current state of readiness for climate-related policy risks and announces the release of several PRI research papers, as part of its ‘Inevitable Policy Response’ project.

Social Proofing, Impact Measurement and InvestEU is a policy briefing from EVPA intended to share insight on how to measure and manage impact, to help develop a system to assess investments on sustainability criteria, in relation to the InvestEU programme.

Podcast – Updated Corporate Purpose Signals Broader Definitions of Fiduciary Duty and Materiality. Impact Alpha’s Returns on Investment podcast takes a look at shareholder primacy vs stakeholder capitalism, in light of the Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.

A longer read – Unlocking the Potential of Frontier Finance is a new research report from the Global Impact Investing Network, providing an overview of the frontier finance investment landscape, case studies and recommendations for building this market and overcoming common challenges.

Legal and Regulatory

Bates Wells contributes to Treasury Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) consultation, providing a detailed submission setting out how changes to SITR could greatly help the charity and social enterprise sector.

ICSA’s Governance + Compliance magazine interviews Fahrin Ribeiro, UK Company Secretary for Bank of Ireland UK, about how companies are articulating their purposes and values, particularly in response to updates to the UK Corporate Governance Code and company law, and governance practices in times of rapid change. 

Event – ICSA Subsidiary Governance Summit, 25 October 2019, London, is a one-day conference exploring subsidiary governance and the impact of a range of geopolitical, economic, legal and regulatory issues, including consideration of ethical supply chains and cyber security. 

Sir Win Bischoff, Chair of the FRC, spoke to the Governance Institute of Australia’s National Conference in Sydney on the not-so-secret path to longevity of business success. The speech provides an overview of some of the FRC’s key areas of work, including on the themes of trust, culture and purpose, ESG and climate change, and investor stewardship.


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.

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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 September 13, 2019.