Impact Esq Vol. 11

It’s the second Saturday of the month, so that means it’s time to see what’s happening on the legal side of impact investing and social enterprise. If you want something featured in the email or have any thoughts / comments, just hit reply and let me know. Cheers!

Social Enterprise


  • Sell Without Selling Out. Unilever announced its acquisition of Sundial Brands, a $240 million portfolio of personal care brands serving the growing new majority market. SheaMoisture, Sundial’s best-known brand, burst out of the “ethnic aisle” years ago and has found its soaps, lotions and shampoos in bathrooms of every shade. This was Unilever’s fourth B Corp acquisition in the last 12 months. As part of the agreement, and the latest example of how to sell without selling out (see past articles on Seventh Generation and New Chapter), Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to $100 million by attracting investments from other interested parties. That’s $50 million dollars already committed to pay it forward. Forbes (5 minutes)


  • Open Hiring. At Greyston Bakery inclusion is the core of their Open Hiring Model. Open Hiring creates opportunities for everyone: women, men, people of color, people of all faiths and sexual orientations, immigrants and refugees, the economically disadvantaged, the formerly incarcerated and all others who may have been excluded — blocked from contributing to the health and strength of our society. Because no one willing to work should be denied the dignity of a job. Open Hiring is not just a job, but a pathway forward — providing career training and life skills. Jobs are fundamental and yet insufficient. Open Hiring connects jobs to families and childcare — so parents can work to support their families. Open Hiring supports parks, gardens, and healthy eating. Open Hiring generates community housing and economic development. All from baking brownies — and a mission to use business as a force for good. What they do is first and foremost about people — and about systems, changing and creating new systems that meet social, environmental, and financial needs. It upends traditional hiring practices that focus on spending time to screen people out and instead makes an investment to include people and support their success. B The Change (6 minutes)

Impact Investing


  • Impact Measurement. The GIIN just released its first report on Impact Measurement Management (IMM). Some interesting findings were: 1) Most investors target more than one impact theme and the average investor targets four. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the highest proportion of sample AUM is allocated to ‘decent work and economic growth’ (24%). Sixteen percent of AUM is allocated to ‘climate action’, followed by ‘sustainable cities and communities’ (11%), health and well-being (7%). 2) Most respondents measure the outputs (91%) – the direct products of an organization’s activities – and outcomes (77%) – the changes that result from activities and outputs – of their investments (Figure VII). Roughly 40% of respondents each measure the breadth (the reach of impact across groups of people or ecosystems), additionality (the positive impact that would not have occurred anyway without the investment), or depth (the significance of the impact for the people or ecosystems impacted) of their impact. 3) Impact investors use various available tools, indicator sets, and standards in their IMM practice, the most commonly used of which are IRIS metrics (62%). Others include the SDGs (42%), B Analytics (41%), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (26%). GIIN (9 minutes)


  • Pocket Guide to Impact Investing. GIIN was kind enough to create a handy cheat sheet with the last couple years of research on impact investing financial performance. A few entries: 1) A Wharton Social Impact Initiative study evaluated the performance of 32 private equity impact investing funds with $1.7 billion in assets and found gross internal rates of return of 9.2%. 2) A McKinsey report on 48 exits from private equity impact funds in India found investments achieved a weighted average return of 11%. 3) Symbiotics looked at 44 microfinance vehicles; the debt funds experienced a pooled average yield of 6.9%. 4) An Impact Investing Australia report looked at financial performance data on 54 private debt investments in Australia and found a weighted average of gross returns of 7.9% per year since inception. 5) A Cambridge/GIIN study on real assets found that timber impact investing funds produced a pooled net IRR of 5.9% compared to 3.3% within a comparative conventional timber funds. GIIN (11 minutes) 

New Fund

  • Co-Impact. System-level change requires collaboration across a range of partners—social entrepreneurs know this well. It’s become clear that a collaborative approach among funders is also a critical piece of the puzzle of solving the world’s most pressing problems. Today, a collection of leading philanthropists announced the launch of Co-Impact, which will invest $500 million in health, education, and economic opportunity to ignite systems level change in communities across the developing world. Jeff Skoll joins Richard Chandler, Bill and Melinda Gates, Dr. Romesh and Kathy Wadhwani, and The Rockefeller Foundation in this landmark effort. Olivia Leland, Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation and founding director of the Giving Pledge, is the founder of Co-Impact and will be Co-Impact’s CEO. Co-Impact


Impact Esq is a monthly email summarizing the best articles on social enterprise and impact investing law edited by Kyle Westaway – Managing Partner of Westaway, Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and author of Profit & Purpose. If you like what you’re reading please share it with other social impact attorneys. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.