SIIA Feeds - 01 | weekly roundup on social impact


Mercy Corps CEO Resigns Amid Turmoil Over Abuse Allegations

The Mercy Corps CEO resigned Thursday, two days after an Oregonian/OregonLive investigation found that executives at the global humanitarian aid group allowed co-founder Ellsworth Culver to remain in a top role after his daughter accused him of serial sexual abuse.

The 65-year-old Neal Keny-Guyer had led Mercy Corps since 1994. His abrupt departure is a stunning development for the $471-million-a-year charity and the result of pressure from Mercy Corps employees who are furious over the organization's handling of Tania Culver Humphrey's sexual abuse allegations in the 1990s and again last year, The Oregonian reported .

"My failure to intervene and change the course of how the organization responded to the Humphrey's hotline enquiries in late 2018 has shaken me to my core," Keny-Guyer wrote in his resignation letter. "If I am going to morally own this — and I believe this in my soul — then I need to take the ultimate action."

The resignation came after Mercy Corps was told the newspaper found that agency executives knew co-founder Ellsworth Culver had been accused of sexual abuse in the early 1990s. Culver died in 2005.

Mercy Corps board co-chair Gisel Kordestani said Thursday that Barnes Ellis, senior legal counsel for the organization, has also resigned. Long-serving board member Robert Newell resigned earlier this week. Kordestani said the board "today heard global Mercy Corps employees' demands for accountability and responsibility."

The nonprofit employs 5,500 people and oversees operations in more than 40 countries from disaster relief to food and safe drinking water programs.

continue reading on - New York Times

#mercycorps #leadership #nonprofits #abuse

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions

New data shows how fossil fuel companies have driven climate crisis despite industry knowing dangers

The Guardian today reveals the 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.

New data from world-renowned researchers reveals how this cohort of state-owned and multinational firms are driving the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity, and details how they have continued to expand their operations despite being aware of the industry’s devastating impact on the planet.

The top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480 bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) since 1965.

Those identified range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell – to state-owned companies including Saudi Aramco and Gazprom. Chevron topped the list of the eight investor-owned corporations, followed closely by Exxon, BP and Shell. Together these four global businesses are behind more than 10% of the world’s carbon emissions since 1965.

continue reading on - the guardian

#climatechange #climatecrisis #oilandgas #energy

Pepsi to Take Green Mainstream With Sustainable Bond Sale

PepsiCo Inc. has joined the charge to make green bonds more mainstream as the soda giant priced its debut sale of the debt.

The company offered $1 billion of senior unsecured green securities, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The 30-year bonds will yield 92 basis points above Treasuries, after initially discussing 110 basis points, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. That’s the larger end of its targeted range, and at the lower end of price talk, the person said.

Pepsi plans to invest the proceeds in sustainable development goals as defined by the United Nations, including eco-friendly plastics and packaging and cleaner transportation, according to a filing Monday. The packaged food and beverage company already has about $34 billion of debt outstanding, but this is its first green bond.

The company’s existing 30-year bonds due 2049 currently trade about 94 basis points wider than similarly dated Treasuries, according to Trace bond price data. CreditSights analysts James Dunn and Ben Morgan said earlier Monday that the new notes would likely price closer to those outstanding, especially given the green attributes of the bonds.

continue reading on - bloomberg

#greenbond #sustainability #pepsico #climatechange #plastics

Global value chains can help developing countries in better growth outcomes: World Bank

In the report titled "World Development Report 2020: Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains" that was released on Tuesday, the bank argues that these reforms can help developing countries expand from commodity exports to basic manufacturing, while ensuring that economic benefits are shared more widely across society.

In an era of slowing trade and growth, developing countries can achieve better outcomes for its people through reforms to boost their participation in global value chains, according to a latest World Bank report.

"Global value chains have played an important part in the growth, by enabling firms in developing countries to make significant gains in productivity, and by helping them transition from commodity exports to basic manufacturing,” World Bank Group Chief Economist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg said.

She said that in the age of global value chains, all countries have much to benefit by speeding up reforms that increase commerce and boost growth.

continue reading on - moneycontrol

#valuechains #WDR2020 #worldbank #trading4development

also read the key messages of WDR2020 on the report's website set up by the world bank here

Most Indian banks fail on policies of climate change, human rights

Most Indian banks fail on policies of environment and human rights and this inaction leaves the Indian banking sector vulnerable to investment risks arising due to climate emergencies, according to the first edition of Fair Finance Guide India scorecard. The scorecard, that analysed environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, disclosures and commitments of various banks in India, noted that Indian banks have policies on financial inclusion and corruption, but are found wanting on social environmental and human rights issues in their investment policies.

continue reading on - economic times

#climatechange #BFSI #banks #India #humanrights

you can also access the complete Fair Finance Guide India - Policy Assessments 2019 report here

#strategies #views

How blockchains can tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Blockchain is fundamentally a technology of trust, but transformative possibilities to benefit society more broadly are emerging. One area of blockchain’s potential that excites me is in helping capitalise on the $12 trillion opportunity of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’re a partner of the UN Global Compact’s Project Breakthrough, which is helping companies embed sustainability in the innovation pipeline to tackle the SDGs. As part of this, we researched and wrote a series of executive briefs on how disruptive technologies could help organisations do business in a better way. And we’ve found blockchain to be a technology that’s already delivering positive benefits.

As blockchain has trust, openness and transparency built into its design, its benefits are wide-ranging and impact multiple SDGs. For example:

Goal 1: No poverty – cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based tokens let the world’s 2 billion-strong unbanked population trade and transact. Initiatives such as BitPesa and CariCoin are beginning to gain traction, and blockchain solutions are disrupting the vast global remittances market and easing the burden of migration.

Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing – there are regional initiatives to share patient healthcare records more securely and efficiently. And start-up Gem is putting disease outbreak data onto a blockchain to improve the effectiveness of disaster relief and response.

Goals 12, 14 & 15: Responsible production and consumption, Life below water and Life on land - blockchain can ensure good provenance throughout supply chains and has great potential to enable the Circular Economy. For example, blockchain start-up Provenance is already tracing yellowfin and skipjack tuna from catch to consumer and digitally reinforcing the value of certification with Soil Association Organic.

I’ve highlighted just a few examples of how blockchain could benefit some of the SDGs above, but looking across the full set of challenges is a great way to stimulate ideas for innovation.

continue reading on - PAC Consulting

#frontiertech #blockchain #UNSDG #sustainabledevelopment

Three strategies for mobilizing people and communities in the digital age

In the summer of 2001, Tanzila Ahmed took a job as an environmental activist, where she faxed letters to Congress and called supporters using a landline. Then 9/11 happened — and she realised that life as a Muslim in America wouldn’t be the same.

As the injustices directed against Muslim Americans began to pile up, Ahmed embraced a different form of advocacy: mobilizing South Asians at the ballot box. She started a non-profit, where she and her team would cold call people based on their Asian-sounding names listed in the phone book.

Over the years, Ahmed’s job changed and so did the tools at her disposal. Eventually, she ran a phone bank staffed by high school volunteers who could engage Asian American voters in 17 different languages. Today, she is a campaign strategist for 18 Million Rising, a non-profit dedicated to helping Asian Americans find their collective voice online and off. For outreach in the 2018 midterm elections, the organization turned to text messages and printed the California ballot guide in seven languages.

Ahmed recently shared her story — and her insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to civic engagement — as part of a public speaker series, “The Active Citizen in the Digital Age.”

continue reading on - Medium

#community_mobilisation #strategies #digital_age

#opinion #advice

Almost Everything You Know About Impact Investing Is Wrong

Impact investing has never been more popular nor more in peril. The field is wracked by confusion over basic principles, dubious practices that invite cynicism, and biases against large companies. If more clarity is not brought to the movement, it risks a hard fall.

The stakes are high, and the world does not have a surplus of money or time to spend. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 requires $5 to $7 trillion annually.

Impact investing can help, but only if properly harnessed.

A handful of pervasive problems are responsible for most of the trouble:

  • Muddled thinking about appropriate rates of return that saps resources and exacerbates in-fighting among practitioners.

  • Questionable theories of impact that spawn confusion about the character and quality of evidence to demonstrate impact, even managing to obscure the value of conventional investment and economic growth.

  • Unwarranted sidelining of global and large regional companies that could provide necessary operational and financial resources.

To overcome these challenges, impact investors should follow three guidelines.

1. Anchor Impact Investing to Market Returns

2. Reboot Impact Measurement

continue reading on - Stanford Social Innovation Review

#impactinvesting #socialinnovation #challenges

Tale of the converted: how complex social problems have made me question the use of data in driving impact

In practice the way in which research impacts and influences policy and society is often thought to be a rational, ordered and linear process. Whilst this might represent a ‘common sense’ understanding of research impact, in this cross-post John Burgoyne reflects on how upending the primacy of data and embracing complexity can lead to a more nuanced and effective understanding of research impact.

The recent Social Outcomes Conference hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab at Oxford provided an opportunity to reflect on my views around outcomes and how they have evolved over time.

Here’s what I used to believe was the best way to drive impact:

1. Data is a powerful tool that is under-utilised in the public and social sector.

2. Powerful insights and knowledge sit in academic journals with rigorous research waiting to be applied by practitioners.

3. We need a better evidence base to understand how to allocate public and social dollars.

4. Measurement frameworks will help service providers better understand and improve their impact.

5. Outcomes should be rigorously measured and used to hold people to account.

These beliefs are consistent with the contemporary canon that’s taught at many universities and which is backed by lots of philanthropic funding. They were hot topics of debate at the conference.

As I gain more experience with social problems, however, I increasingly understand that my original beliefs about impact are flawed. They rest on the assumption that impact can be brought about by a linear chain of causal events. Research what works, invest in some outputs, and over a predictable time span, a quantified set of measurable outcomes will result.

continue reading on - LSE Blog

#policymaking #data #politics #socialimpact

Is an Ecosystem-based Approach the Future of Funding Social Enterprise?

Everything in life is part of an ecosystem – whether we’re talking biological organisms interacting with their environment or our more modern usage referring to a complex network or interconnected system.

Ultimately, in an ecosystem, everything is connected – it’s the idea that we all need to work together to survive and thrive and that the total is greater than the sum of its parts.

The social enterprise ecosystem has many participants – social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, intermediaries, academic institutions, businesses, government and philanthropists – all working on different aspects of social innovation.

In Australia, the social enterprise ecosystem is emerging as an important part of building a more diverse and inclusive economy. Social enterprise can be found in every industry, in small communities and backed by large institutions and their efforts are making an important contribution to creating positive impact. From metropolitan to regional communities, ecosystem participants are evolving and adapting to solving pressing local needs, all while experiencing changing market conditions and emerging new technologies. 

At last count, there were some 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, employing 300,000 people and generating 2-3 percent of GDP. This is expected to grow to 4 percent of GDP, employing an impressive 500,000 Australians, within the next decade. 

continue reading on - social change central

#Australia #socialimpact #socialinnovation #ecosystemapproach #funding #socialenterprise

In case you missed this before

Who gains the most from corporate charity?

  • The group of states that got the highest CSR funding accounted for only about 11% of the backward districts

  • Data released by the corporate affairs ministry shows that states where poverty levels are low account for 40% of CSR funds

Businesses have steadily increased spending on charity but beneficiaries have largely been states that are fairly ahead in living standards while the ones lagging behind get only a fraction of the funds, official data suggest.

Data released by the corporate affairs ministry shows that states where poverty levels are low such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi account for 40% of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds that businesses have spent over the last four years, while states with the highest concentration of backward districts have received just 9% during the same period.

Spending on developmental projects garners businesses goodwill of the people most affected by such activities, whether it is a factory or a mine, although macro data suggest that states ahead of others in development get the big chunk of companies’ CSR spending.

continue reading on - mint

#CSR #funding #socialimpact

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