We had some great questions in the room and online during the our 2022 Annual Conference: Framing the Future of Social Impact so we’ve gathered some questions and our answers to provide a flavour of the day:
Where can we find great examples from across the network?
Our Annual Review includes eight case studies from B4SI members on their Corporate Social Impact strategies and programmes across different maturity levels- plan, implement, measure, and report and engage. We have a recurring member spotlight segment on our LinkedIn page where we draw attention to the social impact programmes and initiatives our members are involved in. Alternatively, we showcase reporting examples from our network in our webinars throughout the year. Please find our 2023 Calendar of events to see which webinar best suits your needs.
Do we think regulatory frameworks will be developed by Governments?
There certainly is activity on the regulatory front. For example, The EU is attempting to address sustainability disclosures with its own set of reporting requirements such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) which includes social issues with a double-materiality lens. The need to assess impact at a community level is likely to come under further scrutiny as disclosure is mandated in the EU (for some companies, including non-EU ones with a large EU presence) under the CSRD. Covering themes across the Environment, Social and Governance spectrum it includes a standard for companies to apply when reporting on the processes applied for engaging with ‘affected communities’ about impact and how the perspectives of affected communities are taken into account in the decision-making processes of companies (whether the actual / potential impact is positive or negative). Moves like these will set the tone for others to follow.
Should funds provided to Corporate Foundations be included when articulating social impact activities?
Yes, Corporate Foundations are an integral in the social impact space and should be accounted when we articulate our social impact activities. We have several foundations within the cohort of the B4SI Network. To reflect this, we are working with them to develop specific support to address the issues faced by Corporate Foundation in 2023. In October, we co-hosted our first Corporate Foundation’s convening event in conjunction with Corporate Citizenship. Over 150 registrants attended and clearly voiced their interest in a multitude of areas including the aggregation of social impact as well as the need to discuss measuring the impact of initiatives with a global footprint, spanning across tax regulations. Building on this, we will be investigating these and other issues raised at the event in October with a series of convening & thought leadership pieces featuring leading Corporate Foundations in 2023. To find out more about the Corporate Foundations within our network and the events planned for next year, please contact the B4SI Team.
What indicators do investors look for related to a businesses impact on local communities and wider society?
Companies contribute to the prosperity of communities and society in a few ways but typically either directly (via job creation) or indirectly (by their operations supporting those smaller local businesses that supply products and services to the company and its employees). Increasingly however, companies are also looking to set-up or contribute to community projects (whether local or not) as part of their wider social programmes. Whilst these can then become the target for additional capital from outside the area, the flow of such capital is sometimes hindered by a plethora of different approaches and frameworks for assessing impact. In fact, organisations such as the Impact Investing Institute (which was established to accelerate the growth and improve the effectiveness of the impact investing market) acknowledge this but also stress that the absence of a ‘silver bullet’ for perfect measurement should not be a reason to delay action that can lead to real and transformative change.
B4SI helps with this by allowing companies to use a practitioner agreed set of metrics sitting in management frameworks, which allow them to contribute to the numerous ESG aggregators. Using the B4SI frameworks, companies are better able to manage how the gather evidence-based data and measure what they are doing to build an informed strategy. Additionally, using the B4SI Frameworks provides an easy and assured way to communicate impact internally and externally.