The Editors' Post: Governance and transparency – the keys to the impact revolution?

Reporting from this week’s GSG Impact Summit, Pioneers Post’s Laura Joffre hears how data – however untidy – is “revolutionising” behaviour. Plus, the high-profile venture that wants to transform governance, and more top stories this week. 

We talk so much about measuring impact: it is necessary but looks impossible; it’s like comparing apples and oranges; if only we could put a number on it… wait. Actually, it turns out we can. It’s a mammoth endeavour that takes quite a degree of ambition though; and that’s just what George Serafeim and his team at the Impact-Weighted Accounts Project are doing. 

Some of you I am sure will be familiar with his work – for those who aren’t, he is actually in the process of designing a whole new accounting system where impact valuation will be as important as sales or profits.

Serafeim was speaking at the GSG Impact Summit this week, which was focused on impact transparency – now the “key lever” to accelerate the impact revolution, according to GSG chair Sir Ronald Cohen. Improving data on impact (positive and negative) is crucial to informed scrutiny and truly impact-led decision making. It sounds obvious – but it’s not easy. That’s why work like Serafeim’s is so important.

There is still a long way to go: current data isn’t good enough (although Serafeim reminds us it’s an improvement on no data at all) and Bridgewater’s Karen Karniol-Tambour says the quality of information is just graduating from “very bad” to “tolerable”. But – things are already shifting. The sustainability data made available by tech advances, however untidy it still is, is already revolutionising customers’ and employees’ attitudes, Serafeim says. It’s promising for what’s to come.

Meanwhile, a group of high-profile voices in impact investing have founded a joint venture to transform governance for the 21st century. In a collective article, they also point to shifts in accountancy and standards as a source of scrutiny and pressure for those leaders that are reluctant to change business as usual – and predict that within a decade, leaders will be held to account as to why they didn’t shift earlier to do less harm and do more good.


Asia’s moment

Next week our global editor Julie Pybus will be in Bali to attend this year’s AVPN Global Conference – organised by the largest network of social investors in Asia. The stakes are high: Indonesia is currently the host of the G20, meaning AVPN participants have a rare opportunity to bring their solutions to the global stage. Let’s hope the world will listen – in the meantime Julie’s compiled nine highlights to look out for at the conference.


SE100 is moving online

As excited as we were to meet everyone in London, we made the difficult decision to move next week’s NatWest SE100 awards celebration online due to transport disruptions on the day, to make it easy for everyone to join us – wherever you are. Click on the link at 4:30pm on Thursday 23 June to join the virtual event to celebrate the UK’s most outstanding social enterprises.

You’ll find out who is taking home the top prizes, listen to micro-interviews with the winners (note: they won’t be told in advance so expect some surprise!) and hear an inspiring speech by Atif Choudhury, CEO of Diversity & Ability and Zaytoun CIC.

And don't forget to check out the SE100 list of the UK's top 100 social enterprises, published today, to find out who's made it onto the index this year.


This week's top stories: 17 June 2022

Governance is the next frontier for achieving impact at scale

Impact transparency is 'revolutionising' behaviours, says Serafeim at GSG Summit

Social Business Profile: Topiku – the sustainable hat maker that has gone from zero to hero


Top picture by Freepik

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