Corporations are getting more social investment savvy

New research has revealed that the level of interest in investment orientated corporate social impact initiatives is increasing.

The Corporate Social Impact Strategies: New Paths for Collaborative Growth report by the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) highlights success stories in collaboration and co-investment between corporations such as Danone and venture philanthropy and social investment organisations such as PhiTrust.

In 2008, the €20m Danone Communities fund invested in the Senegalese company La Laiterie du Berger. As well as providing capital, it supported with production systems, marketing and sales. In 2010, Danone invited other investors including the French venture philanthropy organisation Phitrust to help the project reach its next growth phase with a view to Danone and other investors receiving financial dividends in future.

EVPA’s CEO Kurt Peleman said: “We’re heartened to see venture philanthropy and social investment organisations proactively reach out to corporations to forge long-term partnerships of change.

“There is a huge potential for collaboration and learning between our sector and the corporate sector.”

Lisa Hehenberger, EVPA’s research and policy director said: “Based on the research, we’re enormously encouraged to see so many corporations moving from a more traditional corporate social responsibility and risk mitigation approach to a shared value, integrated strategy, and we hope this report is only the start of the increasing use by corporates of the strategic tool that venture philanthropy and social investment can be.”

EVPA interviewed over 50 corporations, corporate foundations and venture philanthropy and social investment organisations for the report. Its annual survey also found that in 2013, 17% of resources raised by Europe’s venture philanthropy and social investment funds came from corporations, in comparison to 14% in fiscal year 2011.


Photo credit: David Marcu