The Impact World this Week: 11 January 2024

Your quick guide to the news in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business around the world from the Pioneers Post team. This week featuring updates from B Lab Global, the International Cooperative Alliance, disco guitar legend Nile Rodgers and more.

Our key news stories


• Muhammad Yunus supporters urge impact community to ‘turn anger into positive work’ following microfinance pioneer’s conviction

• Social Impact Ireland closes as director points to over-reliance on grants among country’s social enterprises

• Social entrepreneurs and impact leaders recognised in UK’s new year’s honours 2024


Plus: other stories that caught our eye


UK: “I don’t need B Corp and B Corp doesn’t need me.” Self-styled “anti-capitalist accountant” Scott Johnson writes about why he will no longer seek B Corp certification for his firm, Kung Fu Accounting, which it has held since 2016.

Global: The Tipping Point Fund on Impact Investing, which funds projects to strengthen and grow impact investment, announced its latest grants in December, totalling US$1.2m. The grant recipients are Impact Frontiers, Just Capital, OpenEarth Foundation, Rights CoLab and the Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures. All five recipients plan schemes that aim to improve impact data and measurement.

Global: B Lab Global announced this week new leadership on its board of directors. Andrew Kassoy, a B Lab co-founder, and Katie Hill, former executive director of B Lab UK and B Lab Europe are the new co-chairs of the organisation. Janine Guillot, who was appointed to the board in April, becomes vice chair. Debra Dunn, Lorene Arey, and Ommeed Sathe concluded their terms on the B Lab Global board in December 2023.

UK: There were a total of 28,878 community interest companies in the UK in the 2022-23 financial year, including 6,056 newly incorporated CICs, according to the Regulator of Community Interest CompaniesAnnual Report 2022 to 2023. During the year, 3,169 CICs were dissolved. The community interest company form was created in 2005 in the UK as a bespoke legal vehicle for social enterprises. Louise Smyth, the regulator of Community Interest Companies, said: “It is important to reflect on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and other recent world events…It is during times such as these that we see CICs emerge, as people feel passionately about wanting to create businesses that ‘do good’ and serve their local communities.” The annual report was initially expected in the summer.

Global: The International Cooperative Alliance, which advocates for the interests of cooperatives worldwide, is under new leadership this week. Incoming director-general, Jeroen Douglas, moves from Solidaridad, a civil society organisation focused on sustainable supply chains in food and agriculture. In a new year message, Douglas said he wanted to see more collaboration between the 3m cooperatives worldwide. “Cooperatives and mutuals have a tremendous future as long as we stick to our values, as long as we create smart market-based solutions, as long as we build convincing sustainability and climate solutions and, above all, as long as we cement collaboration between coops,” he wrote.

UK: An investigation by The Fundraising Regulator published this week found that the social enterprise Inside Success Union (ISU) breached its Code of Fundraising Practice nine times. ISU is a community interest company that works with young adults to create and sell magazines. Although it is not a registered charity, the investigation found that its youth vendors, who were out on the streets, misled the public by saying it was, placed pressure on people to donate and caused obstructions. It also breached the section of the code that concerns learning from complaints. The regulator said it would share its final decision on the breaches with other regulatory bodies, councils and the Metropolitan Police.

Global: As the World Economic Forum gears up for its annual meeting in Davos next week, it announced the winners of the 2024 Crystal Awards for cultural leaders. They include co-founder of seventies disco popsters Chic, Nile Rodgers, who is recognised for his “extraordinary efforts to make the world a more peaceful, equal and inclusive place”. Rodgers was one of the star speakers at the 2020 Social Enterprise World Forum, where he spoke about his support for young social entrepreneurs.

Figure of the week: €25m is the amount of her inheritance that Austro-German heiress Marlene Engelhorn is handing over to 50 citizens to decide how it should be spent. The BBC reports that the descendent of the founder of German chemical and pharmaceutical company BASF inherited millions when her grandmother died in 2022. Engelhorn lives in Austria which abolished inheritance tax in 2008. “I’ve inherited a fortune, and therefore power, without having done anything for it,” said Engelhorn. “And the state doesn’t even want taxes on it.” Austrians are being invited to put themselves forward to join the Good Council for Redistribution through which they can suggest ideas “to jointly develop solutions in the interests of society as a whole”.