In recent days, the United Kingdom has introduced the “Social Stock Exchange” (SSE), something like a company stock market but with a social impact.
According to its Internet web page, the SSE defines itself as the place that “connects Social Impact Businesses with investors looking to generate social or environmental change as well as financial return from their investment.”
“We believe –the SSE asserts- that robust revenue and growth businesses with social and environmental aims at the core of their activities are best equipped to generate positive change. We call these Social Impact Businesses.” (See chart at the end of the post).
It aims to provide investors with the information they need to identify and compare those organizations that create value for society and the environment.
Admission to the SSE is transparent, independent and –as its own website indicates- rigorous. For this purpose, it has an Admissions Panel, made up of experts from the financial and social world that provide a technical overview of those companies that are applying for inclusion in the index.
And, perhaps the most important aspect is that to be admitted to the index, companies must publish an Impact Report (and update it annually) in which they have to report on five aspects:
1. The social or environmental purpose of the company and the impact it will deliver
2. Who benefits as a result of the company’s social impact
3. How a company’s products, services, and operations deliver that social impact
4. How a company involves and consults with all its stakeholders
5. What evidence a company has of its social impact and how that is collected, measured and reported
To date, the SSE is made up of eleven companies with a market capitalization of nearly 470 million pounds. The mission of these companies ranges from health-related issues, through new businesses and services in the field of low carbon economy to solutions for people with disabilities.
This new stock market has been able to overcome the prejudices that have always, from both worlds, separated the market economy from the social economy and demonstrate that making money and having a positive social impact is not incompatible. Perhaps this is the start of a new trend. It was high time.
“Business with a Social Impact” for the SSE
You can read this article in Spanish at the Sustainability and CR blog of Telefónica.