James has spent the last 12 years building COOK, the social-hearted business he co-owns with his brother which now employs 650 people and is rolling out across the UK. He is also co-founder of B Lab UK, the charity co-ordinating B Corp activity in the UK.
In 2004 he started working with Panahpur. Panahpur means 'Place of Refuge' in Hindi. It was founded in 1907, originally as a community for orphaned children in India. During the 20th century it became a grant making trust. Since 2004 it has been exploring the evolving nature of what sustainability means in response to the constraints of charity. This has led it into the field of social investment, where we have invested in the first social impact bonds, the Social Stock Exchange and the Big Society Finance Fund (a prototype fund for Big Society Capital), as well as numerous funds and social enterprises in the UK and the majority world.
James has written extensively on charity and social capitalism and divides his time between his work with Panahpur and his directorship of COOK.
It isn’t beyond the wit of the asset management industry to answer the question, 'What is the social impact of my capital?'. But asset owners must ask themselves first if they are to demand the question be answered.