New manifesto says social investment firms lack diversity

The manifesto calls for social investment firms to reflect the diversity of the groups they serve

UK social investment firms are being asked to commit to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) by signing a new manifesto from the Diversity Forum.

Their ‘Manifesto 2.0, Towards Inclusive Social Investment’ calls for a more inclusive culture and greater transparency in social investment organisations, and a move away from tick-box exercises.

Firms that sign up are expected to commit and be held accountable to EDI goals within their organisations.

Upon signing the manifesto, firms are expected to be proactive and hit the ground running on change, with 10 initial actions to be undertaken in the first six months of joining. However, they are asked to set “realistic goals” as well as report annually on their progress.

According to representatives from the Diversity Forum, the aim is to get 20 social investment organisations to sign the manifesto by the end of March 2022.

The manifesto launches as a report by the Adebowale Commission, a commission on the UK social investment scene, says the sector has an inclusion and equity problem.

According to the Commission, the sector isn’t serving Black-led and Black-focused social enterprises or other disadvantaged communities. As a result, the paper recommended that social investors should sign up to the Diversity Forum’s manifesto “as a first step” to change.

Founded in 2017 by volunteers from the social investment sector, the Diversity Forum aims to make the sector more representative of the diverse communities it tries to serve.

In 2019, the Diversity Forum produced a report entitled ‘Inclusive Impact: the state of diversity in the social impact sector‘ which was a pioneering study into the sector’s lack of diversity in the UK.

However, the report was criticised for being “too generic” for the social investment sector, with the low uptake leading to the launch of the new 2022 manifesto which is more action-led.

To read the Diversity Forum’s new ‘Manifesto 2.0, Towards Inclusive Social Investment’, click here. Or to read the report by the Commission on Social Investment, the commission set up by Lord Victor Adebowale CBE on the state of the social investment market in the UK, click here.

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