Social Stock Exchange launches

Social Stock Exchange

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday (6 June) launched a new initiative aimed at connecting the public financial markets with publicly-listed businesses with ‘strong social and environmental purpose’. 

Supported by a number of organisations including the London Stock Exchange Group, City of London Corporation, Big Society Capital and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Stock Exchange (SSE) hopes to place the UK at the ‘centre of the multi-billion dollar global social impact market’ by connecting publicly-listed social impact businesses with investors seeking to generate ‘positive impact’ alongside a financial return. 

It is hoped that bridging the ‘information gap’ between investors and these businesses will allow the social investment market, currently valued at around $9 billion (£5.7 billion), to grow. Indeed, financial analyst JP Morgan has predicted that the market could grow by between $200 and $650 billion (£128 and £320 billion respectively) by 2020.

Speaking of the launch of the SSE, Cameron said: “Social enterprises, charities and voluntary bodies have the knowledge, human touch and personal commitment to succeed where governments often fail. But they need finance too. They can get it from socially-minded investors. So we need social investment markets, social investment bonds and social investment banks. And here government needs to help. 

“I am absolutely delighted that the London Stock Exchange is supporting the launch of the world’s first Social Stock Exchange, an online portal that will become the first information platform on the planet to showcase publicly-listed social impact businesses. 

“The market capitalisation of the first 12 social impact businesses launching on the Social Stock Exchange today is already £500 million. The next 13 businesses set to join in October will add another £700 million. And this is just the beginning. For years the London Stock Exchange has made London the home for private finance; today London can cement its place as the home for social finance too.”

Straight plc amongst first listed companies 

Companies so far admitted to the SSE cover a range of sectors including the waste, recycling, water, renewable energy and sustainable transport industries. 

Bin manufacturer Straight plc is one of the first companies to be admitted to the SSE. 

Jonathan Straight, Chief Executive of Straight plc, commented:I am delighted to announce our admission to the Social Stock Exchange. A key factor in our decision to join was that it actively encourages investors to make investment decisions best aligned to their environmental and social values. This is clearly a platform [that] corresponds to our own interests and goals. I firmly believe that our business will benefit from the increased exposure to investors seeking social and environmental impacts through the deployment of their funds.” 

Straight has also said that in light of its admission to the SSE, the company will now focus on a broader range of environmental and social issues, including:

  • reduced organisational carbon impact;
  • reduced carbon footprint specific to key products;
  • increased percentage of recycled materials used in products;
  • 100 per cent use of renewable energy in manufacturing;
  • reduced energy use relative to each kilogramme of plastic processed;
  • increased collection facilities for recycling;
  • reduction in water consumption; and
  • reduced number of vehicles on the road. 

Straight added: “I am delighted to illustrate how we will be measuring our impact on the environment and wider community. We are committed to driving these actions forward and our common set of values with the Social Stock Exchange… creating more environment friendly investment, growth, and ultimately a global capital marketplace for common cause and greater good.” 

As well as the SSE, a consultation on social investment tax relief was also launched.

Read more about the Social Stock Exchange.