Impact investing isn’t just about social entrepreneurs

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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.

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Is purpose for real?

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Written by Michael Hilton and Charles Wookey

When BlackRock, the largest investor in the world, starts talking about purpose there can be little doubt that it is in vogue.  In his 2018 letter to CEOs Larry Fink states that “to prosper over time every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”  The new UK Corporate Governance Code – currently out for consultation – strikes a very similar tone.

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The 100 year life

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Written by Michael Hilton

What would you care about if you were likely to live for 100 years?

There is a lot written about millennials being different from other generations. So far in my time at Blueprint I’ve heard many (often older) folk pin their hopes on the young’s new found desire, as a generation, for a more purposeful and environmentally-friendly future. It’s the millennials, they say, who will insist that businesses become better employers and better stewards for our planet. Read More

Slowing Down to Speed Up

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Written by Charles Wookey

When my oldest son first went to primary school, his warm and wise reception teacher summed him up well: “that boy is on permanent fast-forward”. We never did find the pause button.  Even now, at 28, sitting still is not his forte. I’ve long realised that his father is partly to blame. My own nature is to crack on with life, filling each day with as much content as possible, and running when walking might do. Read More