Each week, we compile and summarize the top articles on corporate social impact, impact investing, and conscious capitalism from around the world, and deliver it to your inbox every Saturday morning for you to enjoy and digest.
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ETSY MADE MISTAKES, BUT ITS COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WASN’T ONE OF THEM
On April 16, 2015 the CEO of Etsy rang the opening bell at Nasdaq’s headquarters in Times Square. The date marked a momentous occasion, one in which many believers in the social responsibility of business viewed as a promising turning point for capitalism. Three years later, however, the company is not quite the beacon of hope it once was. Its valuation quickly plummeted from its peak on April 17th, 2015. It has experienced culture-shocking layoffs and leadership shakeups and, most recently, allowed its B Corp certification to expire. Etsy clearly demonstrated investor appetite for a new kind of company. Now it will be up to the next wave of socially responsible startups to demonstrate—through scalable business models and solid business fundamentals—that a commitment to long-term sustainability can truly drive shareholder value.
THESE NEW FUNDS LET YOU INVEST ACCORDING TO YOUR VALUES-AND HELP NONPROFITS
If you don’t like the idea of investing in companies with poor records on issues like sexual harassment in the workplace or gender diversity in boardrooms, there’s a new option for you. The Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF, launching in the first quarter of 2018, only contains the shares of companies with high grades on women’s issues. The ETF, or Exchange Traded Fund, is one several impact-themed funds being launched by a Texas startup called Impact Shares next year, each with the name of a well-known nonprofit attached.
SOCIALISM, CAPITALISM SEEN IN NEW LIGHT BY YOUNGER AMERICANS
Millennials say they consider themselves socially conscious, which has ramifications for potential employers. “They see where they work as an extension of who they are and what they value,” said Whitney Dailey, the director of marketing and research at Cone Communications, a firm that advises on corporate-responsibility strategies. “They’re looking to work with companies that align with their values.” According to Cone’s 2016 millennial-engagement study, which surveyed more than 1,000 employees at large companies, 76% of respondents between ages 20 and 35 consider a company’s social commitment when searching for a job; 75% are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that suits their values.
THE FUTURE ECONOMY PROJECT: ADVICE FROM SUSTAINABILITY EXPERTS
Harvard Business Review (HBR) interviewed the CEOs and other business leaders who signed up to the Future Economy Project, the HBR initiative spotlighting businesses’ sustainability agendas. HBR then virtually convened the project’s advisers for a roundtable discussion about what they viewed as the major issues raised in the interviews, and their own counsel for executives wishing to create long-term value through a sustainable business agenda. Click below to read the full interview.
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