Written by Michael Hilton
The recent Good Deals & Beyond Good Business conference showcased a range of exciting companies, with purpose at their core.
One was a well-established business which turns tonnes of old leather fire hoses destined for landfill into luxury handbags, giving 50% of its profits to a Fire Fighters’ Charity in the process. Another, at the start of its journey, was seeking new investment to expand its ‘aid through trade’ shoe business, with all products manufactured in Africa and all profits reinvested in the company. Two great businesses, both addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) head on.
However, as the debate returned to more familiar concerns over how social investment was failing to find its way to social entrepreneurs such as these, my mind wandered back to a less glamorous pensions sustainability summit I had attended the week before.
A comment made by Lewis Grant from Hermes Investment Management had stuck with me. Companies that are improving, he said, rather than those performing well on ESG criteria but at a steady level, are the place to look to unlock shareholder value.