Big Society Capital changes name to ‘better reflect its mission’ 

29 Apr 2024 News

Better Society Capital logo

Better Society Capital

Big Society Capital has renamed itself Better Society Capital (BSC), a name it says will better reflect its mission to grow investment into social issues across the UK.

The social impact investor said its new name, unveiled today, will help it unlock future opportunities while “retaining its track record and heritage”.

BSC was established by the government in 2012 as an independent organisation with £625m from dormant accounts and four high street banks to help grow the UK social impact investment market. 

Since its launch, BSC has invested £925m of its capital and used that to unlock an additional £3bn from other investors for organisations tackling social issues such as homelessness and fuel poverty.

Old name was not ‘clear or helpful’

BSC’s chief executive Stephen Muers told Civil Society that his organisation has sometimes received feedback from stakeholders that its name “wasn’t perhaps as clear or helpful as it might be and didn’t quite capture what we’re here for and what we do”.

“So, we looked at this and thought: ‘Building a ‘better’ society is a better description of what our mission is.’ Ultimately, we’re here to try and channel more capital into tackling big social challenges across the UK while retaining a link back to our 12 years of track record,” he said.

“It’s not a radical shift, we’re still committed to the same mission and work that we’ve been doing before, but [having] a name that better captures what we’re aiming for felt like the right thing to do.”

Muers said changing the organisation’s name was particularly important in light of the market expanding and new people coming into social impact investment. 

“We were stumped to find that the people weren’t finding the name clear or helpful, and many new people didn’t know us or the history,” he said.

“We felt that Better Society Capital was a clear statement to that. In a market growing with new participants, we feel it’s more important than ever to have a name that says what we’re here for and captures the mission in a way the old one perhaps didn’t.”

‘Helping charities address the cost of increased energy’

In its strategy published in 2021, BSC said it aimed to grow the capital invested into social impact to total between £10 and £15bn by 2025, which it estimated reached £9.4bn in 2022.

Muers said that one area BSC is looking at is the “intersection of social and environmental impacts where these two things come together and you can tackle them both at once”.

“In the past, we’ve done quite a lot of work around community energy and enabling communities to have a stake in renewable energy projects,” he said.

“Recently, we helped complete one of the biggest transfers of renewable assets to community ownership in the UK and we’re keen to do more in that space.

“Similarly, helping social enterprises and charities address the cost of increased energy by helping them invest in new buildings or better heating systems or lighting means they can reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.”

Muers added that BSC continues to do a lot of work around social and affordable housing. 

“We have already made quite a lot of investments in that space supporting charities like Notting Hill Genesis. We think there’s a lot more that can be done to help tackle temporary accommodation and homelessness.

“We’re looking at making further investments in that space, working with partners to raise the profile of what we’ve done around housing to attract more investment from both the private and public sectors.”

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