The Editors' Post: Swiss recipes and LinkedIn love for B Corps

Reporting from Zurich's trendy industrial quarter, a "major investment" in the B Corp movement, and making climate change "less worse": the editors' view from this week's Pioneers Post newsletter.

This week’s Fi Gathering in Zurich wasn’t quite what I’d expected. I walked right past the venue a few times before realising that the impact investing event was not taking place in some fancy conference centre or bank, but in an unassuming-looking startup incubator, in Zurich’s trendy industrial quarter. 

Switzerland is, for some reason, easy to associate with cliches (it doesn’t help that the Zurich airport train includes a welcome message from ‘Heidi’). But it’s clearly much more than skiing, bankers and expensive hotels – in fact, impact investors here told me it’s got the “perfect combination” of ingredients to grow as a hub for impact investing. Philanthropic foundations here tend to focus on traditional grantmaking, Social Nest Foundation’s Marta del Castillo told me – but that means there’s much potential to explore other ways to invest for social good. Some Swiss foundations are already showing how it’s done – like Elea, which has provided catalytic equity investment to kickstart a Mexican venture that will boost the revenue of thousands of small retailers.

B Corp windfall

As well as the dozens of deals, funds and initiatives you need to know – covered as always in our monthly Impact Investing Newsflow – we’ve got news of a US$1m windfall for B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corp certifications. It’s a donation from a perhaps unexpected source: the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. Find out what this “major investment” means for the B Corp movement.

Final warning 

Just ten days ago the IPCC delivered its “final warning” to all of us on climate change. The environmental impact of your website might feel like the tiniest drop in a pretty frightening ocean, but scientists are clear that every action we take now can make things, well, less worse. And, as this week’s contributors remind us, if the internet were a country, it would be the seventh biggest emitter of CO2. 

For anyone who’s creating and using tech, there is an opportunity to do that better and greener – the Green Web Foundation and partners have four ways to reduce your digital footprint.

SE100: applications open today

And finally, we’ve just opened applications for this year’s NatWest SE100 – our annual list of the UK’s leading social enterprises. Get up to speed on this year’s award categories, and find out what the judges are looking for before you start your application. Good luck! 


This week's top stories:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman donates US$1m to grow B Corp movement

The Asian Impact Leaders profiles: Abha Thorat-Shah

Entrepreneurial, bridge-building – why Switzerland offers the 'perfect combination' for more impact investing


Top image: Tuesday's Fi Gathering in Zurich (courtesy Social Nest Foundation)

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