The Impact World this Week: 25 January 2024

Your quick guide to the news in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business. This week featuring startups in Madrid, impact investing qualifications, a campaign for 'true and fair' accounting, and more.

Our key news stories



Plus: other stories that caught our eye


Spain: Three of the ten hottest startups in Madrid, as recently ranked by tech mag Wired UK, were incubated at the city’s Impact Hub, part of the global network of Impact Hubs which supports inclusive and sustainable innovation. They are Foundspot, a free lost-and-found platform, Beemine Lab, which produces CBD and honey products, and electric scooter producer Velca

UK: Investment professionals’ body CFA UK this week launched its Certificate in Impact Investing, a self-study course covering impact investment philosophy, strategy and implementation, asset classes and products in private and public markets, and impact measurement and management. 

UK: Directors of UK companies must consider whether and how to reflect sustainability issues, such as their contribution to climate change, in their financial statements to provide a ‘true and fair’ view of their company’s position. This is according to a new legal opinion by a company law King’s Counsel George Bompas. Based on this, Social Value International and Social Value UK are launching a Campaign for True and Fair accounts. Working with business networks including Business Declares, Capitals Coalition and Social Enterprise UK, they will develop guidance and support for directors who want their companies to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ in accounting for their impact on people and planet.

UK: The country’s biggest ever transfer of community energy assets was completed this week, with solar farms with a collective capacity of 36MWp going into community ownership. The transfer sees five community businesses across England and Wales, in a partnership called Community Energy Together, take ownership of eight solar farms generating enough energy to power almost 13,000 homes, with expectations that this will provide over £20m in forecast community benefit funding from surplus revenues. The deal has been facilitated by Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE), a partnership between the UK’s social impact investor Big Society Capital and independent trust Power to Change. CORE acquired the assets predominantly from developers and private owners between 2017 and 2021, before restructuring and optimising them for transfer over to the community groups.

UK: Co-operatives UK is running a series of free events and webinars in February and March throughout the UK, introducing people, groups and communities to co-operatives. The Discover Co-ops event series will introduce the co‑op business model, as well as the support Co-operatives UK offers to start‑up and existing co‑ops through its Business Support for Co‑ops programme.  

Global: Impact investing aficionado Daniel Rosehill has launched Readings in Impact Investing, a podcast dedicated to “making important reports in the world of impact investing available to a wider audience through the medium of audio”. In each episode, he reads out the content of key reports for people to listen to on the move. Publications covered so far in the 55 episodes include The Impact Taskforce’s State of Play 2023 and Time to Accelerate, the GSG Capital Mobilisation Report. 

UK: As the UK prepares for a general election, opposition party leader Keir Starmer pledged to work with civil society to build a “society of service” in a speech at Pro Bono Economics’ Labour and Civil Society Summit. He said: “We don’t want to crowd out the social entrepreneurs – we want to encourage them. We want to harness civil society as one of three key engines for renewal, working alongside the public and private sectors.” Social Enterprise UK welcomed Starmer’s refusal to accept “business as usual”.

Figure of the week: 250,000 is the number of under-served women and girls in South East Asia that the $12m Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (WLB2) has supported. Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) announced this week that the fund has now fully matured.