How to achieve corporate and societal impact

In a ‘how to guide' by The World Economic Forum and Schwab Foundation, Centrica demonstrates how companies can create social impact that goes hand-in-hand with creating business value.  

Tackling inequality through meaningful and inclusive growth is one of society’s greatest challenges, but one where companies can play a vital role. In the guide which forms part of The World Economic Forum’s Global Challenge Initiative on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion, Centrica along with more than 30 leading companies, illustrate how scalable social impact can be delivered alongside tangible business benefits. 

By sharing learnings from these businesses, the guide provides key starting points for companies searching for social innovation opportunities and helps transform them into action.

Centrica shares its journey of going beyond traditional corporate social responsibility, with the creation of Ignite. Ignite is the UK’s first corporate impact investment fund focused on growing social enterprises with innovative energy ideas.

Since 2012, Ignite has committed £8m of our £10m investment fund to 12 social enterprises which has so far helped over 24,000 people in society and is working with six further enterprises on its pre-investment programme.  The benefit to Centrica’s business has been equally valuable, with the fund having become a source of talent development, strategic foresight and market intelligence.

Iain Conn, Chief Executive Officer said: “Ignite helps us to make a contribution to society, keeping us abreast of ideas and developments, encouraging innovation and giving our people an insight into how to manage a real business from the beginning.”

Julia Rebholz, Head of Ignite continued: “Traditionally we looked at macro trends and sought external consulting advice to think through our strategy. The fund complements this macro advice by helping us understand these trends better from an entrepreneurial, bottom-up perspective…It gives us a different lens as well as relationships with venture capital, private equity and impact investment funds, which we didn’t have previously.”