‘Investors back industry surging in Canada’
18 reasons why investors, government and foundations back growing marketplace in Canada
1. Foundations and mainstream investors are backing social ventures and making this industry surge.
2. Social ventures almost go side by side a coherent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy (please review information below on CSR).
4. The government of Canada is also part of this momentum developing partnerships and exploring social finance tools.
5. The Ontario government has a social enterprise strategy that aims to make the province the top jurisdiction for the sector on the continent.
6. British Columbia has a social innovation council.
7. Quebec has pledged to develop its social economy.
8. The Canadian Task Force on Social Finance recommended that the country’s foundations, which collectively have $36 billion in assets, allocate 10 per cent of their capital in mission-related investing by 2020.
9. Recent progress of thesocially responsible investment (SRI) movement provides evidence that the marketplace is developing both social and environmental criteria to supplement traditional financial criteria used to make investment decisions.
10. Market indexes and professional firms provide information to mutual funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds, commercial banks and other financial market investors about a wide range of corporate characteristics, including governance, human resource management, health and safety, environmental protection and community development.
Examples SRI indexes: the Dow Jones Sustainability index, FTSE4 GOOD 100 Index, Jantzi Social Index Canada, Innovest, Calvert CALVIN Social Index and KLD Domini 400 Index.
12. Tony Fell, Chair of Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets, stated, “the ongoing vitality of our communities is both in our long-term business interest and in the interests of a healthy, vibrant country….”
“No enterprise operates in a vacuum.”
13. Global demographic pressures of a global aging population means government will not have extra money to find new solutions, and should look at non-traditional sources of capital, says, Antony Bugg-Levine, New York City-based chief executive Nonprofit Finance Fund and chair Global Impact Investing Network.
14. Younger investors are quickly being drawn into impact investing and providing capital. The MBA programs and post-secondary courses on social finance often are over-subscribed.
15. Sally Osberg, president and chief executive of the Palo Alto, California-based Skoll Foundation, says the industry is exploding, and has invested about $400 million in the past 14 years to almost 100 social businesses around the world.
16. Royal Bank of Canada has put $20 million toward socially responsible investments, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (along with the Ontario government, KPMG and Alterna Savings) back Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund.
17. On January 17, 2013: A new report by the Responsible Investment Association reports that responsible investment (RI) assets in Canada continue to climb, showing growth in virtually every major market segment and outpacing growth of total assets under management.
The Canadian RI Review 2012 shows that assets managed under sustainable and RI guidelines in Canada grew by 16% from June 30, 2010 to December 31, 2011. By comparison, total assets under management grew by 9% same time period.
18. Social ventures being founded in other countries. The U.K. is home to the world’s first social impact bond and is creating several social investment funds. In the U S, both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs expanded to impact investing.
A corporate social responsibility strategy is based on:
offers clear business benefits to companies
helps make a positive contribution to society, and
provides the business an opportunity to show their human face.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) companies usually:
- engage in open dialogue and constructive partnerships
- (with governments at various levels, intergovt., non-governmental organizations, local communities & others);
- recognize and respect local and cultural differences;
- maintain high, consistent global standards and policies; and
- are responsive to local differences and take on specific initiatives.
Canadian companies benefit from CSR activities.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. expended considerable energy developing and implementing its Purpose and Core Values initiative, which emphasizes people, the environment, the community and ethics. The company reports that this approach has led to governments issuing various permits faster than previously. The firm also reports that a $4.2 million investment in environmental and health and safety programs resulted in estimated savings of $9 million, including fewer injuries and lower absenteeism among employees.
Montréal-born eco-designer Joanna Notkin discovered that most cotton and wool products are finished with chemical processes and that cotton crops use more than 25 percent of the world’s pesticides, which often seep into the water table. Notkin established the home furnishings company LoooLo in an effort to minimize the environmental impacts of the textile industry, one of the world’s worst industrial polluters. LoooLo products receive considerable media attention because they use specially sourced, organically grown or chemical-free, and compostable materials.
Why is CSR important?
Many factors and influences, including the following:
- Companies becoming multinational companies and global supply chains. Factors related to human resource management practices, environmental protection, health and safety and others.
- Governments recognize CSR.
- The United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Labour Organization have compacts, declarations, guidelines, and principles that outline social norms for acceptable conduct.
- Advances in communications technology, such as the Internet, cellular phones make it easier to track corporate activities and disseminate information. Non-governmental organizations now regularly draw attention through their websites to business practices they view as problematic.
- Consumers and investors show increasing interest to support responsible business practices and want more information on how companies are addressing risks and opportunities related to social and environmental issues.
- Citizens in many countries are making it clear that corporations should meet standards of social and environmental care, no matter where they operate.
- Increasing awareness of the limits of government legislative and regulatory initiatives to effectively capture all the issues that corporate social responsibility addresses.
- Businesses recognize that adopting an effective approach to CSR can reduce risk of business disruptions, open up new opportunities, and enhance brand and company reputation.