There is increasing ubiquity in considering the ‘impact’ business has on people and places. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are mapped by corporations, ‘social enterprises’ are abounding, governments are launching ‘social impact bonds’ and there is integration of ESG considerations into financial analyses by traditional investors. Even archetypal profit-focused investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, include ESG and impact activities in their business. The notion of the social impact of business has become so mainstream that government at the highest levels – including G8 leaders and even the Pope – advocate the creation of institutions to give greater attention to driving social impact.
New year intention
‘A decade after the financial crisis shook voters’ confidence in capitalism, the challenges to Friedman’s model have been gathering momentum. Now — even as US President Donald Trump pursues stereotypically “pro-business” policies such as cutting corporate taxes and regulations — they are starting to converge into something that looks like a new worldview, shared by…
‘Atwater was a single, poor, black parent who led Operation Breakthrough, which tried to improve local black neighbourhoods. Ellis was an equally poor but white parent who was proud to be Exalted Cyclops of the local Ku Klux Klan… When each listened to the other’s reasons, they realised that they shared the same basic values….
“With a laptop, $25 in capital, and no previous experience managing a company, Gabas started Saami Online, a one-stop shop that sells and delivers everything from books and cosmetics to clothing and home appliances.” What do you think when you hear Africa? For many, it’s a thought worth pausing on. Do you think of need, or…
The good school
“But decades of economic growth have changed priorities. Andreas Schleicher of the OECD reckons Singaporean education is going through “a silent revolution almost entirely unnoticed in the West”. Politicians now hope to marry good exam results with the promotion of skills that will help pupils work in the city’s growing service sector, and even to…
The meaning of purpose
“In 1962, Milton Friedman set out a framework for business in which he described the social responsibility of businesses as being to increase profits so long as they stay within the rules of the game. It was a powerful and influential proposition that established the conventional framework for business around the world. However, it has…
Show me the money
“Prior to December 2015, I didn’t have a clue we had a problem with human trafficking in Canada. And as I learned, and others learned, we found new indicators that we could immediately share with each other.” – Peter Warrack, Bank of Montreal and Project Protect A powerful and rousing short film by The…
The age of forgetting
From our smartphone culture to the rabid reductiveness of our sound-bite media cycle, we live in a time of momentary, meaningless distraction. It drains our productivity and it devastates our policy debate. But England’s ageing crisis cannot be forgotten away – and we’re not adapting. The number of British people needing round-the-clock care will double by 2035. As the FT reminds us, ‘Public spending on the average 80-year-old is about four times that spent on the average 40-year-old. It is a similar story for tax payments, but in reverse…
The UN launches the Sustainable Development Capital Initiative
What does it take for an idea to seed? What are the specific conditions that must be met, what mind-sets cultivated, what context needed to achieve mass adoption? Two weeks ago I spoke at the UN’s General Assembly in New York City alongside Prime Minister Theresa May, Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau, Rwanda’s President Kagame, and…