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Economy

UK’s founding B Corporations: ClearlySo

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ClearlySo works exclusively with high-impact businesses, charities and funds. They support their capital raising activity through financial advisory work, and introduce them to institutional and individual investors who share their objectives and values. £67m of impact investment has been raised by their clients to date.

Through their investor networks, they connect entrepreneurs with impact investors – and educate new ones. They advise businesses on growth, strategy and fundraising to scale their impact.

They also deliver contracts for The Big Lottery Fund via The Big Venture Challenge and The Big Potential Fund and the Cabinet Office through the Childcare Investment Readiness Fund and the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

In 140-characters or less what does being a B Corporation mean for your organisation?

For ClearlySo, being a B Corp further ensures our commitment to social and environmental impact. As a business that looks to make high impact and high returns, the certification demonstrates our commitment to impact and to operating in an ethical, sustainable way.

What were the biggest internal barriers to achieving B Corp accreditation?

ClearlySo already operates like a B Corp and we carry out impact measurement to assess how our work with high-impact businesses and investors creates social and environmental change. However, the process to achieve B Corp accreditation required us to pull together information from all across the company. As we’re an early-stage business, we hadn’t previously documented our supply chain approach. The process required us to consider the impact of the way our business operates – from our employment policies to a sustainable supply chain – right down to how we recycle our coffee grounds (at ClearlySo, we do drink a lot of coffee!).

Will it change how you do business and/or who you do business with?

We hope that being part of the international movement will increase visibility for all businesses that are positively creating social and environmental change. By being associated with the #BTheChange movement, we anticipate being able to speak to a broader range of companies, particularly those for whom the traditional “social enterprise” labels may not feel as comfortable. Our clients include many charities and those who are legally structured as social enterprises – such as Community Interest Companies – and we are looking forward to working with many who embrace the B Corp certification too.

There are 3,571,105 companies in the UK and 61 B Corps – how do we reach the point where every company in the UK is B Corp-ready?

It’s a big ask – as it should be. To become a B Corp, a company has to be committed to social and environmental impact in its entire business operations; by what it does and how it does it. This means many companies have a long way to go, but consciousness is shifting; as many more consumers, employees and investors demand that businesses account for their impact, business owners will need to take notice. Seeing the growing interest from our investors in backing businesses that account for people and planet as well as profit assures us that the businesses of the future will be those that care about impact; we just need to keep encouraging that with our buying power and investment capital. Once every entrepreneur and CEO can see how much impact matters, not only to their internal stakeholders, but also to those who can help their business grow, the B Corp and social enterprise movements will grow too.

Is corporate action commensurate with the environmental and social challenges we face, and responsibilities we have, as a one the world’s leading economies?

It is clear that there are many large companies who do not yet account for the “externalities” of their businesses – their impact on the people and environment around them – but things are changing. The businesses of the future, particularly those full of the famously impact-oriented “millennials”, are accounting for impact. Just looking at some of the businesses our investors have backed in the last year shows exactly that – from Aduna, which makes super ethical superfood products that employ women in rural Africa to the London Early Years Foundation, which uses a cross-subsidy model that means their commercially successful nurseries can fund subsidised places for less affluent families. There is a long way for many large corporates to go if they are to accept their responsibility in creating social change – but they had better get on board quickly, because so many start-ups are way ahead of them on social and environmental impact.

Any other comments?

Becoming a B Corp wasn’t just about a label – it also meant becoming part of a global community of like-minded organisations.  At ClearlySo we envision a world where the financial system is a powerful force for good and the impacts of businesses are considered in all investment decisions. Being part of a community that shares our vision and values, strengthens this mission and will keep us fresh and innovative in how we achieve this through shared learning.

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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