Our criteria

At Worthstone, our key mission is to publicise social impact investment opportunities, and to provide to our subscribers detailed reviews of those investment products. However there is no “standard” definition of social impact investment – that term can mean different things to different people. So in this note we explain how we at Worthstone decide whether an investment opportunity is a “social impact investment” that merits review on our website.

What do we mean by a “social impact” investment?

We only list investment opportunities based in the UK and denominated in sterling. So investments in any other currency, or territory outside the UK, will not be included on our website (irrespective of their social impact aspects).

Once we’re past that hurdle, we then need to be sure that the investment really is a “social impact investment” (by our definition). We therefore ask ourselves a number of questions:

Does it qualify for Social Investment Tax Relief?

If it does, we will treat it as a social impact investment.

Is it a social impact bond?

If it is, we will treat it as a social impact investment.

 Is it an investment in a “regulated social entity”?

If the issuer of the investment is recognized as a social enterprise by a regulatory authority, we will treat it as a social impact investment.

This would include charities, community interest companies, industrial & provident societies and other forms of community benefit societies.

Is it a fund which invests in any of the above?

If it is, we will treat it as a social impact investment.

Does the investment have a defined positive social/environmental purpose and will it provide a social impact report to stakeholders on at least an annual basis?

If it does, we may treat it as a social impact investment.

But before we make that decision we will analyse the social purpose, the way in which achievement of that purpose is to be measured, and when and how social impact is reported.

And we’ll flag all of that up to you. You, and your clients, can then decide whether the investment opportunity fits your definition of a social impact investment.

Anything else?

The chances are that if an investment opportunity does not fall within any of the above categories, we will not treat it as a social impact investment – meaning we will not be including it on our website and will not be reviewing it for subscribers.

“That said, there may occasionally be an investment we consider to be of a “hybrid” nature which we feel has sufficient social impact to merit a more detailed mention. If so , we’ll flag that up to you and explain why, leaving you and your clients to decide whether or not this fits your criteria and theirs.

So there you have it – that’s how we at Worthstone will decide which social investment opportunities to publicise and review. As we said at the start of this note, however, there is no universally accepted definition of a “social impact investment”, so please do let us know if you see something out there which you think we’ve missed, or indeed if you think we should be revisiting our criteria.

Subscribe to Worthstone here to gain access to the Social Investment Portal.