Monthly Archives

April 2018

Inclusive growth: from analysis to action

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Earlier this month we were honoured to be invited to join the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Inclusive Growth at the OECD Global Parliamentary Network meeting in Parliament which was held to discuss inclusive growth. The organisers invited a number of business leaders associated with Blueprint, including Sir Mike Rake, Chair of Advisory Council; Sue Garrard, Blueprint Trustee and Executive Vice President, Sustainable Business & Communications, Unilever; and Sacha Romanovitch, Chief Executive, Grant Thornton to join the conversation. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the perspectives shared by attendees from Parliamentarians, to NGOs and business leaders.

Liam Byrne, UK MP and Co-chair of the APPG Inclusive Growth, set the tone for the discussion in his welcoming address. He explored the very different challenges and opportunities 21st-century economies face including technological transformation, rapidly growing inequality and systemic challenges such as climate change. He underlined that current policy was not created to address this, built as it is on an economic consensus which took slowly hold in the 20 years between Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom and the election of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in ’79/80. In conclusion, he suggested that while we may have mastered how to globalise, we failed to develop good ways of ensuring that globalisation worked for the many, not just the few.

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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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