GUEST BLOG by Uprise: IS YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY MORE PLENTY OF FISH THAN MATCH.COM?
Is your investment strategy more Plenty of Fish than Match.com?
Is it a fumble in the dark, a good grope and quick gratification, or are you looking for a relationship built upon strong foundations, with satisfying results all around? Are you looking for a dirty little secret or someone you could take home to your mother for a PG rated Sunday lunch?
Why should investors care about something as boring as procurement and supply chain in their investees? It is impossible to sex it up. But, procurement affects lives.
Increasingly, investors are looking for more than a financial return and “impact investment” is a buzzword being bandied about by many Family Offices and private equity funds. Impact investment isn’t just bunging an investment to a worthy social enterprise or mission driven business with a B Corp blessing. We ask for more than your money, we seek engagement, experience, challenging questions, mentoring and access.
An ethical supply chain, ensuring that an investee has transparent processes and that its vendors comply with employment legislation, anti-slavery legislation, living wage agreements can prevent some of the corporate scandals which have hit large corporates recently. With 140 character headlines and a live 24 hour news cycle, as many companies have found, it is hard to hide!
FTSE listed companies have to report on social value, beyond a couple of paragraphs in the annual report. Corporate governance requires them to have a social value policy in place and report on outcomes beyond the financial – John Elkington’s famous triple bottom line return – outcomes for people, planet and profit.
Increasingly, commissioners of public service contracts are bound by the Public Service (Social Value) Act 2012 to seek additionality in the services providers are contracted to deliver. This goes beyond a few apprenticeships places or a community hall no one will ever use. Engagement with the local community to find community based approaches to solving local issues is becoming critical.
A FTSE 100 listed construction company was awarded a contract to build a tower in East London. They offered long term unemployed residents placements across their supply chain and went into local schools to discuss career options within the sector. They took the children on site at various stages of the development and made them important stakeholders, by actively engaging them in the process and delivery of the construction project. While this may not raise the next generation of Balfour Beatty chief execs, it leaves an important memory in young minds and opens doors that they might not have known were open to them before. The company built on its social capital for the price of a few XXXS hardhats and hi-viz jackets.
Recent high profile , public shareholder revolts concerning CEO salaries ( EasyJet and WPP) , divestment (G4S) and a demand for accountability, ( Sports Direct’s zero hours contracts and questionable working conditions) have gone some way to ensuring large corporates start to comply with basic working conditions and deal equitably with all their workers, not just those in the C Suite.