Big Society Capital rebrands as Better Society Capital

Big Society Capital says rebrand as Better Society Capital will create future opportunities and enable it to more easily approach potential new partners who don’t have prior knowledge of its history.

Big Society Capital has rebranded as ‘Better Society Capital’ in a move the UK’s wholesale social investor says will more clearly articulate its mission and create future opportunities. 

Better Society Capital CEO Stephen Muers said the organisation’s mission, core strategy and approach remain the same. The rebrand was decided on after stakeholders from the private, public and third sector said the organisation’s name could more effectively convey what it does. 

Stephen Muers - Big Society Capital

Muers (pictured) said: “A lot of stakeholders said, actually, the name is not all that clear or helpful and [it should be] something that was just a better statement of what you're here for.

“Ultimately, our mission is about creating a better society through channelling more capital into investments that tackle social problems across the UK. We felt ‘Better Society Capital’ is a better explanation of that, while it also retains the brand memory and track record of the past 12 years, because we're proud of what we've achieved.”

Under the new brand Muers aims to attract new players into the social investment space, including local authorities, pension funds, wealth managers and charities. He hopes the new brand will enable the organisation to more easily approach potential new partners who don’t have prior knowledge of its history or its aim to grow the social investment market.


Maintaining strong relationships across the political spectrum

Big Society Capital was launched in 2012 by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. The wider Big Society project, which included transferring power from central to local government, promoting volunteering and support for social enterprises, was championed by David Cameron in his first term as prime minister.

The change away from the Big Society brand isn't specifically about distancing the organisation from any associations with the Conservative party, said Muers. He said: “We've always had a cross-party approach, working with politicians of all parties, including local and national. Particularly in an election year, we're very keen to maintain strong and effective relationships with political figures across the spectrum, in order to make the case for social investment to all politicians.”

Speaking to The Times Sir Ronald Cohen, Better Society Capital's founding chairman, said: “The name we used at the time was part of the political programme that aimed to involve society in solving the big issues that we faced. The spirit remains the same but Big Society doesn’t really have the same connotation as Better Society, which is our real mission.”

The concept of a 'social investment wholesale bank' for the UK was originally developed under former prime minister Gordon Brown’s New Labour government. Having gained cross-party support, the idea was brought to life as Big Society Capital under David Cameron, with an initial £600m investment fund taken from dormant assets, with the aim of growing the UK social impact investment market. The organisation helps direct money from pension funds, trusts and foundations, family offices and other institutional investors into organisations tackling social challenges, from homelessness to healthcare. 

Gordon Brown welcomed the rebrand. In a statement he said: “It is very heartening to see how much has been achieved using unclaimed assets since the legislation to release them passed in 2008. I wish [Better Society Capital] continued success in creating a better society under its new name.” 


Growing the social investment market

The organisation has invested £925m of its own capital since its launch, and used that to unlock nearly £3bn of additional funds from other investors. In that time, the social investment market in the UK has grown from around £800m to over £9bn.  

The rebrand was largely carried out by the Better Society Capital communications team, with a small amount of external assistance paid for out of the organisation’s annual marketing and communications budget.

Robin Hindle Fisher, chair of Better Society Capital, said: “I am confident that this change of name will unlock opportunities for Better Society Capital, and in turn for the organisations we fund and the investors we partner with, while making the UK a better place to live.” 

Image courtesy of Better Society Capital


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