Resources for Business on the Sustainable Development Goals from the Global Compact

As we are now two years into the Sustainable Development Goals, there are a growing number of resources and tools to help businesses engage in working towards, as well as reporting on the Goals within their own operations. These are resources that can be used in a classroom setting to help teach the SDGs, as a tool for students or faculty working with business on the SDGs, or as tools to develop new partnerships with business around the SDGS. Here are 10 resources put together by the Global Compact focused on business and the SDGs.

  1. Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets This report is a first step towards a uniform mechanism for business to report on their contribution to and impact on the SDGs in an effective and standardized way. It contains a list of existing and established disclosures that businesses can use to report, and identifies relevant gaps, where disclosures are not available.
  2. The UN Global Compact-Accenture Strategy CEO Study 2016: Published every three years, this study is the largest analysis of CEO attitudes towards sustainability globally. It is based on interviews with over 50 CEOs of leading companies, and the 2016 study focuses on the path towards 2030 and the mandate for action that the UN Sustainable Development Goals layout.
  3. The SDG Compass: This tool guides companies on how they can align their strategies and manage their contribution to the realisation of the SDGs. The SDG Compass presents five steps that assist companies in maximizing their contribution to the SDGs: understanding the SDGs, defining priorities, goal setting, integrating sustainability, and reporting. It is available in 9 different languages.
  4. Project Breakthrough: Project Breakthrough aims to challenge and stretch prevailing business mindsets into new opportunity spaces. It puts a spotlight on the best thinking and examples in sustainable innovation that demonstrate a commitment towards an exponential scale of change and impact – across mainstream companies and next generation innovators and entrepreneurs.
  5. SDG Industry Matrix: These industry-specific reports highlight examples and ideas for corporate action in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals specifically related to those industries. Each matrix highlights bold pursuits and decisions made by diverse companies for each SDG. These are available for financial services, food and consumer goods, climate, health, industrial manufacturing, transportation and energy.
  6. Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs: This report aims to inspire all businesses, regardless of their size or location, to take a leading role in the achievement of the SDGs. It illustrates how the five leadership qualities of Ambition, Collaboration, Accountability, Consistency and Intentional can be applied to a business’ strategy, business model, products, supply chain, partnerships and operations to raise the bar and create impact at scale.
  7. Making Global Goals Local Business: This report provides an overview of how the different Local Networks of the Global Compact are taking action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The report includes projects planned or in progress, and discusses how they are building national awareness of the Goals, aligning business models to the SDGs, collaborating across stakeholders, and getting business involved in policy discussions to push the Goals forward locally.
  8. The SDG Investment Case: Discussions taking place since the launch of the SDGs tend to focus on how investors can contribute to the SDGs. But how do you convince investors that they should be investing in the SDGs in the first place? This report looks at why the SDGs are relevant to institutional investors and why there is an expectation that investors will contribute, and how.
  9. Partnership Passport: This resource calls on companies everywhere (and why not business schools as well) to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals in partnership with the UN, Governments and civil society. The guide helps organisations to find new partnerships and enhance existing ones with 10 inspiring examples of UN-Business collaboration, tips to form your own partnerships, and directions for finding UN partners to work with.
  10. How Your Company Can Advance Each of the SDGs:
    This page on the Global Compact website provides an overview of the 17 Goals with links to the different resources that the Global Compact offers to business focused on each of those Goals. Many of these resources are relevant to more than one SDGS given the cross cutting nature of all of these challenges, making this resource a useful guide to get your impact started.

 

 

 

 

 

Six (More) Reasons to take your SIP Report seriously

One has only to browse through the extensive collection of Sharing Information on Progress reports available to download from the PRME website to see the wide variety of approaches in terms of format but also in quality of reporting.  But a report should not only be seen as a requirement to be a Signatory, it can be an important tool to help drive your efforts forward and to connect with multiple stakeholders. PRMEs basic guide to help established and new Signatories to put together an SIP Report (available in both English and Spanish) provides many reasons why schools are taking reporting seriously.

Here are
6 more reasons why the SIP report should be seen as more than just a requirement of being a Signatory to PRME.

 

  1. Reporting gives you a way of knowing where you stand and where you want to go. A report can be seen as an overview of what you are doing, what has been done, but also a tool of identifying what is missing and the way forward. This is particularly relevant now with the Sustainable Development Goals and understanding how your schools is already engaged in reaching the Goals, but also how it could engage further.

 

  1. Reporting brings the school community together towards a common goal. It also provides a map of what is happening across campus allowing individuals, whether that is students, staff or faculty, to identify others who might be interested in their own work, or contribute to the work already happening on campus. This can be an important tool to help connect with other departments and disciplines within your University as well.

 

  1. Reporting itself is a skill graduates need to know. An increasing number of individuals working directly on sustainability strategies within large businesses are saying that understanding reporting allow students to better understand the nuts and bolts of what is happening within a business in regards to sustainability. Having a sustainability report on campus already begins to show students what is possible, especially if they are engaged in putting together the report as well.

 

  1. Businesses are increasingly looking at business school reports. When it comes to understanding what a business school is doing in sustainability, but also what priority areas, or specialty areas the school is focused on within sustainability and the SDGs more particularly, reports are a good way for businesses to learn more but also to see how seriously a particular school is taking these topics.

 

  1. Potential students are looking at the reports too. Rankings are not everything when it comes to choosing a school. Students are looking for a school that provide the right fit in terms of teaching and additional learning opportunities. Students are looking through sustainability reports including your SIP report to learn more about your approach to these current topics.

 

  1. It allows the PRME Secretariat to learn more about your initiatives. The more the Secretariat knows about what you are doing, the more they are able to connect you with possible partners and to promote your projects.

 

8 Resources to help you integrate the SDGs into your SIP report

Signatories to the Principles know all too well one of the key requirements of being a Signatory – The Sharing Information on Progress Report (SIP).  The SIP report, regularly submitted to the PRME Secretariat, facilitates regular sharing of progress made in implementing the Six Principles of PRME as well as engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But Signatories to PRME are not the only organisations reporting on a regular basis on sustainability. Many other organisations do so as well and their approach and resources can provide an additional tool to inspire and guide Signatories in creating their own reports. Here are eight resources to look at when creating your SIP report.

 

  1. The PRME Website. The PRME website includes a database of all of the SIP reports submitted from not just this year but also in past years. The Secretariat also offers a Basic Guide to help established and new Signatories in putting together their reports which is a valuable resource (available in both English and Spanish).

 

  1. Look at reports that have been recognised by the Secretariat. Every other year, at the PRME Global Forum, a selection of SIPs are recognised for the Excellence in Reporting. These fall into several categories including first time report, non-first time report and reporting on the SDGs. Each provides a different approach to the SIP.

 

  1. There have been a number of articles over the past years on PRiMEtime focused on how schools have reported. This includes including visuals in the SIP report, how Hult International Business School integrated the SDGs into their report, as well as a range of ways that Schools reported on the SDGs. More examples coming soon.

 

  1. Explore the SDG Dashboard. Developed by Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business, the dashboard is a tool for schools to measure their participation in the fulfilment of the SDGs based on their curriculum, academic research, community and global outreach, and campus integration of the goals. Watch the PRME Newsletter for updates on how to use this tool.

 

  1. The Global Compact. The UN Global Compact requires participating companies to produce an annual Communication on Progress (COP) as part of their commitment. Over 47,000 reports are available to browse on the Global Compact website. The Global Compact has a number of resources to help its members report. For example their Basic Guide to the Communication on Progress .

 

  1. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI provides a wide range of resources for companies looking to engage in sustainability reporting. Several PRME Signatories are creating reports that also follow the G4 guidelines, the current GRI standard. You can also access all GRI reports through their website.

 

  1. SDG Reporting. The Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have created a number of guides to assist business in reporting on the SDGs. This includes Making the Connection – using the GRI G4 Guidelines to Communicate Progress on the Un Global Compact Principles as well as Business Reporting on the SDGs-An Analysis of the Goals and Target. and the SDG Compass.

 

  1. An Action Platform. The UN Global Compact and GRI are also launching an Action Platform, a multi-stakeholder movement that will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of corporate reporting on the SDGs. The goal is to create one common approach to reporting on sustainability, aligning the current Global compact and GRI standards. The platform consists of a both a corporate and a multi-stakeholder advisory Committee.

 

Campus Sustainability at Copenhagen Business School

At the PRME Global Forum, several Signatories received Recognition for the Sharing Information on Progress Reports. Copenhagen Business School in Denmark once again received recognition for their report, a report which is distributed to staff, students and partners and is used as an important communication tool both on and off campus.

CBS has many initiatives around responsible management and sustainability and has recently launched a number of initiatives focused on campus sustainability. I recently spoke with Louise Kofod Thomsen, co-founder of the Sustainable Infrastructure Taskforce (SIT) at the business school about their approach to sustainability on campus and their plans moving forward.

Why is it important that universities bring sustainability onto their campuses?

Universities act as role models for their students and basically, nurture and influence future decision-makers. During students’ time at university, they are taught how to act when they take on positions in businesses, but if they experience that it is okay to waste or in other words act irresponsibly, this is what they will bring into their future roles. In this sense, campus creates a sense of identity for the students and it is our belief that focusing on sustainability on campus will ultimately foster certain attitudes towards responsible behavior upon graduating. 

What has been the push at CBS when it comes to embedding sustainability into the campus?

Every few years, the Minister for Education and Science negotiates new university development contracts. These contracts contain self-defined targets by individual institutions as well as obligatory targets based on societal needs. Until now, these contracts have not set targets for universities in terms of raising the bar for energy, waste etc. but we strongly believe that they should, in particular as part of universities’ role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Being a business school, we educate future employees for the business society (and other institutions). In recent years, we have experienced a growing interest from companies within the sustainability agenda that creates a natural push to how we should educate students. At the same time, there is also a considerable push from students through student organizations who wants to do more with sustainability.

What is your approach to sustainability on campus? What are some of the most material issues?

CBS Campus Services is working on getting waste sorting in all CBS buildings. At the moment they sort 12 different types of waste and we are working in close collaboration with the municipality to improve waste sorting on campus. A very recent development is the new department, CBS Estates. The new department will focus on 1. Operation and development of existing buildings, 2. Sustainability, 3. Development of teaching and learning facilities and 4. The establishment of Student and Innovation House in collaboration with the students. These four focus areas create a great platform for us at CBS PRME, student organizations and others to work more closely with CBS operations and top management to set even more ambitious targets for the green agenda on campus and launch projects that can get us closer to the goal of a more sustainable campus.

How are students engaged in sustainability on campus?

CBS engages students in sustainability on campus from day one. At the beginning of the first semester approximately 2500 new bachelor students start their time at CBS with Responsibility Day. The aim of the day is to provide them with an opportunity to reflect upon social, responsibility and ethical dilemmas, both in their new role as CBS students and in their future role as business managers. The day also sets expectations for the role that their education will play over the course of their time at CBS. One of our student organizations, oikos, hosts Green Week for one week in March where students learn more about sustainable living and working.

What have been some of the challenges?
It is always challenging when you try to create change. You meet a lot of “this is not possible” attitude or “this is how we have always done it” which can make it seem impossible to get the results. Often change starts from below, and when it comes to sustainability, this is also the case at CBS. This means that everything takes longer, because we need to mobilize stakeholders bottom up and document the impact to prove the importance. It is all about people, and therefore you need the people on board. We also need to work on improving environmental sustainability in buildings and this requires that we work across departments and facilities and collaborate with many different entities to achieve results.

What’s next for environmental sustainability at CBS?

CBS is collaborating with the Green Business Council to use CBS as a case study for the development of campuses in urban areas. We also recently launched The Sustainable Living Lab, a project that opens up campus data for students and researchers to use the campus to implement, test, research and teach sustainability. It is still in its early days but we are excited about what this could mean not just for the campus but for staff, faculty and students.

CBS Department of Management, Society and Communication is also engaging staff regularly around sustainability topics. With the Sustainable Infrastructure Taskforce, the department now wants to implement sustainable initiatives using the department as a pilot. One example is the department wide competition on ideas for how the department can become more sustainable. The winning solution was to have vegetarian meals as default for all meetings and conferences as opposed to the traditional non-vegetarian option.

A next step for the sustainable journey at CBS would be to gather more data on waste, water, energy and CO2 and set clearly communicated targets for these areas. It is a great opportunity to also track the savings you can make in the long run. The challenge is of course that budgets usually only cover short term, which can make it difficult to prove the long-term benefits.

What’s next in terms of student engagement?
In terms of engaging students, Five student organizations in collaboration with CBS PRME have come together to coordinate a 2-day hackathon inviting students from Danish universities to come to CBS and work on solutions to 4 defined sustainability challenges on campus from food waste to inequality. It is the ambition that the winning solution is to be implemented in collaboration with CBS top management and operations. The winning team will have the opportunity to present their solution at the PRME office in New York and hopefully inspire other universities to follow this path. A strong jury panel consisting of representatives from Copenhagen University, The Technical University of Denmark, CBS and representatives from private companies will judge the solutions. It is the first time that students, staff, management and partners come together to discuss the challenges and solutions for a greener campus and hopefully this will create a strong platform for future collaboration.

What advice do you have for other schools looking at campus sustainability?
It might seem as an overwhelming task, but just get started on the journey. There are ups and downs along the way, but if you keep pushing and engaging colleagues in the efforts, you will see results. Start by identifying the key stakeholders who you need to have on board to change the way you do things today.

Impact Investing in the African Context – University of Cape Town

 

This past month, PRiMEtime has featured a number of programmes from universities around the world focused on impact investing. We finish off the series with an example from South Africa, from the University of Cape Town. There one faculty member has created a special one week intensive course focused on impact investing in the African context. I spoke with Aunnie Patton Power from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town about their initiatives in this space.

What is happening in Impact Investing in South Africa?

Impact investing on the continent is certainly growing.  It has been dominated by international funds in the past, but we are starting to see the emergence of funds based on the continent looking to deploy funds.  There is a lot of opportunity for local funds to partner with international funds to bring down costs around due diligence and ensure better local knowledge. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, sub-Saharan Africa makes up 22% of global impact enterprises.

How is the University of Cape Town exploring the topic?

One of the ways that we are looking at impact investing is through a course we have called Impact Investing in Africa, which is running for the third time this year. I created this course after I worked on the Oxford Impact Investing Program and saw the need for an African based course to help unlock capital on the continent towards impact.

The course takes place over 5 days. It is designed for a wide range of individuals including wealth managers, consultants, funders, lawyers and other financial intermediaries. We start with the landscape, language and themes of impact and then move on to how to find and evaluate deals and funds and how to measure impact.  We then look at portfolio construction and innovative financing structures as well as how to build strategies with clients and within institutions and the ins and outs of starting a fund.  Finally, we do a site visit to local enterprises that have received impact investment and are at the scale stage as well as visiting a set of incubators to spend time discussing the very early deal stage and what is needed.

Are there any resources on Impact Investing specific to the African context?

We have also been working on a number of case studies focused on impact investment in Africa. When we started there were almost no cases on the topic. It took us nearly a year and resulted in 14 cases (we’ve since developed 5 more).  I worked with an exceptional case writer and even roped in a few students.  The cases feature eighteen impact enterprises and sixteen funds from eleven countries across the continent and are shared in partnership with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. One of our cases won the 2016 CEEMAN case writing competition.  The cases are now used in our course and across the globe in dozens of other institutions.

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation has an Innovative Financing Initiative that does projects with funders around the globe, convenes events and gathering, conducts research and enables teaching across the entirety of UCT.  We teach Impact Investing / Innovative Finance across all of our programs as either an elective or a core course.

What have been some of your successes?

It’s been so incredible to watch our alumni from the past two courses.  They’ve gone on to start their own funds and start funds within foundations and banks and development organizations.  They’ve also put impact investment practices into place at large institutions such as consulting firms, law firms and real estate practices.  One of the things that I’ve enjoyed is seeing how they support one another as an alumni group.  Several alums with significant experience now sit on the board of younger alums’ funds and organizations.  We also get a lot of new students through our alumni. We also see a large demand from international development organizations and non-profits keen to be involved as investors to ensure better sustainability for themselves and their underlying projects.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

Spend a significant amount of time getting your curriculum and your mix of speakers correct.  There needs to be one strong convenor pulling the whole thing together that understands how the content should flow and how to tie it all together.  There are more and more options for curriculum available, so you don’t need to create your own, but you do need to create a cohesive, comprehensive experience for your students.

What’s next for the initiative?

We are holding our 3rd course from the 13th – 17th of November 2017.  We have 40 participants signed up from 15 countries.  I’m very excited about the participants this year.  I think we will always cap it at 40 as I don’t want it to get too large and take away from the experience, but it is amazing to grow the alumni base.

Student Leadership in Promoting Impact Investment on Campus – IESE Business School

IESE Business School in Spain hosts an annual Impact Investing Competition as part of their Doing Good Doing Well conference. The Competition, which is now going into its 7th year, brings together teams from leading business schools across Europe. Now students at IESE are taking it one step further. They have recently come together to raise money to create the school’s first 100% student managed impact investment fund. I spoke with Luca Venza and current MBA Students Rachel Messina and Michael Davis about this initiative.

(This post is part of Impact Investing month on PRiMEtime. Click here to access more posts on Impact Investing).

What is IESE’s Impact Investing Competition and how did it come about?

The Impact Investing Competition (IIC) is a dynamic competition that guides participants through the key phases of impact investment including due diligence, term sheet development and negotiations with real-world entrepreneurs and a panel of impact investment professionals acting as the Investment Board. We ask all schools to hold internal rounds with the winner going to IESE for the final. The top business schools in Europe compete alongside top schools from Asia and often the U.S. at the IESE final round. The teams are judged by the entrepreneurs and impact investment professionals invited for the event. This competition started about 6 years ago due to the passion of IESE Professors and Students, eager to expand the understanding of Impact Investing, especially as it changes dramatically into a maturing asset class. The competition is part of our annual Doing Good and Doing Well conference which we organize annually which brings together 50+ speakers and 500+ attendees.

How is the competition organised and how do students participate?

The competition is designed to simulate the impact investment process as closely as possible within an accelerated timeframe. Each participating school first organizes an internal round to nominate the representing team for the final round, which takes place on the IESE campus. A few days in advance of the competition day, teams will receive information about the investment opportunities, which are typically 3 real impact startups identified by the competition organizing team. On the day of the event teams arrive early in the morning to prepare for a fast-paced series of simulation rounds, which are each judged by the panel of real impact investment professionals and entrepreneurs. The exact schedule may change slightly year-to-year, but generally it goes as follows: 1) entrepreneurs pitch their companies in front of all teams 2) due diligence sessions take place between each team and entrepreneurs (judged round 1) 3) teams choose which investment to make and prepare term sheets 4) teams present their term sheets and investment decision in front of the investment committee to win approval of the board (judged round 2) 5) teams negotiate terms with the entrepreneurs in front of the judges (round 3) 6) Judges vote on winning team and the day concludes with an awards ceremony and networking cocktail. 

Why do you think it is important for students to understand impact investing?

Although relatively new and still a small sector, impact investing resonates well with MBA students because they see the connection between private sector, for-profit strategies and the generation of positive social and environmental impact. More and more individuals would like to align their investment decisions with their personal values. Most importantly, many students (and professionals) want to make the world a better place while investing, and are even willing to accept a lower return. The good news is that some studies show that impact portfolios are resulting in higher returns than the average portfolio. It’s also a fun way to learn about typical Venture Capital deals which is useful for Investors and Entrepreneurs alike.  

What have been some of the successes? I would say that we have been successful in two ways. First, by bring on actual social entrepreneurs to compete in this event, we help prepare them for professional fundraising outreach. Our students have a similar skillset to most investors and highlight many of the questions that will be key for entrepreneurs to understand while raising funds. They value getting practice with our students in a “low-risk” environment. Second, the impact on students is to give them a small but practical insight to the sector to help them understand their relative value to the sector and start to network with actual investors on the Investment Board. It is still a small sector in the sense of MBA recruitment so all contact and experience helps.

Challenges?

The competition is organised by students (generally the winning team of the previous year), so it’s important to ensure good handover and transition every year. Busy MBA schedules certainly make this challenging, but the opportunity to organise such an event is a great learning experience and also provides networking opportunities for students to develop relationships with impact investment professionals. Each year student organisers aim to find new entrepreneurs to feature in the competition, and the research and sourcing process of these companies takes a significant amount of time and effort.

What’s next?

In 2017, a group of graduating students founded the school’s first impact investment vehicle, the IESE For Impact Community fund (IFIC). This year’s organising IIC team is also acting as the Board of Directors for the new IFIC fund and will be going through the first real investment process. IFIC was established for three primary reasons: one is impact, supporting businesses driven by an aim to positively impact society; the second is learning, providing hands-on and valuable experience for students; the third is to put the IESE mission into practice, in line with our school’s objective to educate leaders with the highest ethical standards. IFIC will invest in and provide consulting services for impact startups—enterprises that demonstrate that positive social and/or environmental impact is an intentional and integral part of the business model. The winning internal team of IIC will have the opportunity to act as the next year’s IFIC Board, and we believe there will be opportunities in the future to consider the IIC investment opportunities for actual investment via IFIC.

Any tips for others looking to organise a similar competition? Get in touch with the IESE organising team. We are looking for collaborators to create a global competition with regional semi-final rounds similar to the Venture Capital Competition, VCIC. Identify champions within your community, starting with your school’s faculty who should be able to share their network to invite judges and help find financial partners / sponsors.

 

Fostering Discussions around Impact Investing Internally and Externally – Sauder School of Business

This month PRiMEtime is exploring different ways that business schools are engaging in Impact Investing, whether that is through their teaching, extra curricular activities, research or events.

I recently had the chance to speak with Christie Stephenson, the Executive Director of the Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in Canada about the work that they are doing around Impact Investing and Responsible Investing. Her center, which became operational in 2016 and has a major focus on responsible investing, works in close collaboration with UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing, which was formed in 2007.

 

Why impact investing? Why is it important that students learn about impact investing?

Impact investing is a fundamental shift in thinking about how profits and societal/ environmental good relate to each other. It rejects the notion that the two outcomes are mutually exclusive. Today, many business students come into university truly wanting to make a positive impact on society. Yet they’re studying business and their interest is in business – not necessarily charity or non-profit management. Impact investing provides another channel/avenue to work in global issues other than traditional charities that allows them combine their interest in business with their desire to create social impact. Incorporating environmental, social and governance considerations in investment decision making is also a major trend with retail and institutional investors and therefore it is more important than ever that students understand this. This traditionally gets referred to as Responsible Investing. Some people consider responsible investing a type of impact investing, other people consider impact investing a type of responsible investing. At UBC Sauder we tend to describe them as different, but closely connected, types of social finance.

 

What are some of the interesting research that the Centre has been doing around impact investing or is planning to do?

The UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (SauderS3i), which was formed in 2007, focuses in large part on impact investing, as the name suggests. SauderS3i is best explained by using a demand and supply model. It creates demand for impact investment capital by incubating successful social enterprises through the iHub program and it coordinates the supply of impact investment capital through working in partnership with the Pacific Impact Investor Network (PIIN). The Centre works with PIIN members to help them understand issues more thoroughly as well as how impact investing can play a role in their portfolios. The Dhillon Centre focuses specifically on responsible investing within the impact investing spectrum. This can be described as the integration of environmental, social and governance risk and opportunity considerations in public markets investing, whether that’s retail or institutional. One of the Centre’s four pillars is research and recruitment is currently underway for a lead academic to develop this pillar.

 

How are students engaged in impact investing? What kind of opportunities do they have?

Every summer, SauderS3i hires several interns to work on Impact Investing projects commissioned to us through PIIN members. They range from in-depth analysis projects on specific issues (water, education, housing etc.) to providing insights into impact investing portfolio construction.

The Dhillon Centre also hires a number of part time students. As well, with SFU Beedie Business School it hosts a free two-day workshop on responsible investment for students. We also host a variety of events for students including recent panels and workshops on topics such as “Careers in Social Finance” and “Impact Investing as a Major Philanthropic Trend”.

We currently also have opportunities within the curriculum including an elective on Impact Investing: Social Finance in the 21st Century that ran for the first time last year. In the past we have organized a range of events for students including an Impact Investing Competition.

 

What have been some of your successes?

SauderS3i has been working on creating one of the first university-based seed-stage funds. UBC has a strong entrepreneurial culture and a number of rockstar social entrepreneurs through our iHub programme (for example Wize Monkey, Arbutus Medical and Alinker). The impact fund aims to provide seed-stage funding to enterprises that are ready to make the next step from an early-stage idea to scaling growth and operations. On the research front, we’re extremely interested in how impact investing venture capital differs from traditional “Silicon Valley” venture capital. Unlike tech start-ups (like Facebook, Google, Uber), not many social enterprises will have traditional exits like IPO or get sold to another company. So we’re looking at how deal structures can be designed to respect this different dynamic, and at the same time create returns for investors.

Both Centres do a lot of work to foster discussions around Impact Investing in the community. This includes hosting meetings to bring together impact investors in Vancouver and events open to the public. For instance this month, the Dhillon Centre co-hosted an event with the SFU Beedie School of Business called “Reconciliation: A New Relationship for Investors” which explored how investors can take into account how companies work with indigenous people and communities.

Sauder S3i’s executive director, James Tansey, is on the Federal Social Finance and Social Innovation Co-Creation Steering Group that is charting out what’s next for Canada’s social finance market. The Dhillon Centre has been invited to speak on impact investing and responsible investing at numerous industry events over the past year, including those hosted by the Chartered Financial Analyst Society, the Responsible Investment Association of Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, and the International Corporate Governance Network, among others.

 

What’s next?

After five years of successful collaboration between Coast Capital Savings Credit Union and UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing, the iHub is moving on to the next stage of our journey. Starting in November 2017 the iHub social venture accelerator will become an integral part of entrepreneurship@UBC which is the venture accelerator at the University of British Columbia.

Sauder S3i is continually trying to build the impact investing market in Vancouver and western Canada. In the coming months, it will be refining and improving its relationship with PIIN and launching a new investor portal / public impact investing resource guide (www.impactinvestmentforum.com).

The Dhillon Centre is supporting the development of more social finance content within the academic curriculum. We are a member of the iInternational Sustainable Finance Faculty Consortium which held its first in-person meeting this summer in Chicago and appears have great potential as a collective effort to support the advance of impact and responsible investment as an academic discipline.

 

What are your favourite resources around impact investing? Are there any other impact investing programmes at other schools that you admire?

Anyone interested in impact investing must subscribe to ImpactAlpha’s Daily Brief. You’ll never be out of the loop once you’ve subscribed.

The Impact Terms Project is also very useful. It has a great library of useful concepts related to private equity/ venture capital in impact investing.

Oxford University’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship has been a real leader in this space, although they have less of an emphasis on impact investing.

In terms of responsible investing sources, in Canada the best single source is the Responsible Investment Association of Canada. Internationally it may be the Principles for Responsible Investment. There are also some leading practitioners worth following, such as Sustainalytics, NEI Investments, and the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE).

 

Any advice for other schools looking at exploring impact investing?

Simply put, it would be “get up to speed sooner rather than later”. Impact and responsible investing are major trends that are changing not only the nature of our capital markets but have the potential for the kind of social and environmental impact that is absolutely critical to people and the planet. With the values shifts taking place because of demographic changes, there isn’t a business school out there that shouldn’t be looking at how to integrate these subjects into their curriculum and activities.

 

 

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