Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future, eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development, was the keynote speaker at Charity Bank Annual Open Meeting and Impact Awards 2014
He said: “Misunderstanding and misallocation of capital is taking society to the brink. By misallocation, I mean the failure to use finance that helps meet the needs of people today without compromising the needs of people tomorrow, the failure to instigate sustainable finance. If we continue with the current business as usual model, we are heading for very sticky times.
“I loved the opportunity to judge this year’s Charity Bank annual Impact Awards to find the Bank’s current borrowers that demonstrated the best community initiative, the most innovative use of loan finance, and the greatest impact. This was all about capitalism as it will need to be. Capitalism that recognises the contribution of social and human capital. Charity Bank uses financial capital to build social capital.
“Good things are happening in the world. Through the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment Project, $34 trillion in assets under management have been screened. Sixty-five percent of assets in the EU have been screened. In the last three months, four very large companies have created green bonds.
“We are beginning to see the growth in social investment. But the speed of growth is pathetically inadequate. We need more social impact investment. We need to think about more than financial capital; we need to consider human capital, natural capital, manufactured capital and social capital.
“What I find most impressive about Charity Bank is the way that it is using financial capital to build (and often re-build) social capital. This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things I’ve come across for a long time: not least as nurturing this country’s social capital is one of the most important strategic priorities we have. Although they often don’t recognise it, for-profit organisations can only prosper with that social capital well looked after, but they are often contemptuous of the contribution that social capital makes to their businesses.
“Sustainable capitalism means that we need to look at all the different stocks of capital on which peoples’ wellbeing depends. People who understand this are best placed now to support what should be an extraordinarily positive transformation in people’s lives.”