THURSDAY 28 SEP 2023 4:13 PM


Jasmine Kubski, associate director at Hopscotch Consulting, considers how businesses can strive to have a positive impact, and why it matters.

Looking through this year’s CEA nominations, there’s a clear focus on young people: future-proofing their skills, supporting their health and wellbeing, empowering them to protect the planet, creating communities and opportunities open to all. According to the World Economic Forum’s Shaper Report 2023, we’re on the right track. The report cites protecting the planet; re-skilling for the future; increasing civic engagement; creating inclusive communities; and improving health and wellbeing as young people’s top priorities.

Many of you will have firsthand experience of the importance of brands addressing issues that matter to young people. They are our future customers, workforce, leaders and nature’s stewards. They are our legacy. They are also a discerning cohort when it comes to brand authenticity. In a world where purpose washing is all too common, you’ll know getting your impact strategy right is critical.

Every day, Hopscotch’s work puts us at the intersection of social need and our clients’ purpose. Our job is to find the common ground, uncovering where and how our clients can, and should, act. The priorities coming out of the WEF report can act as a compass, pointing us towards what young audiences care about. That’s where, as social impact professionals, the real work starts. Digging deep into the insight, using our expertise and engaging stakeholders to map out opportunities to make a difference.   

But finding your path to impact is more than knowing where you’re going, it’s also knowing why you’re headed there.

The ‘why’ becomes clear when you align impact with your purpose. This alignment has become second nature with an ever-growing number of brands that recognise the importance of embedding impact seamlessly into their business strategy. In big organisations, that can mean bringing together the marketing and communications, commercial, HR, social investment, and sustainability teams to ask: how does taking action on an issue contribute to our business priorities? How can it serve us and why are we doing it?

It's OK to ask. It fosters alignment and buy in across the business to invest in a joined-up and robust impact strategy over the long term. Finding that common ground gives you license to operate and opens the space for transparency and authenticity.

Our recent work developing green and ‘future skills’ strategies with clients is testament to the potential of this common ground approach. People and skills are considered a fundamental barrier to achieving the UK’s net zero target by 2050. So, we’ve been mapping out the ‘leaky’ talent pipeline for leading businesses from a range of sectors, uncovering common themes and opportunities for them to act. The business case is obvious: addressing the gap will help secure a sustainable talent pipeline for their business to thrive and adapt to changing regulations and market pressures. But if social impact is built into the strategy from the start – everything is amplified. It means that business can also help tackle regional inequalities, open up career prospects for people who are unemployed or in sunsetting industries, building resilient communities along the way. It can upskill, motivate and future-proof current employees. It can push an industry to be more inclusive, inspiring the next generation of talent to choose a great career in a thriving and diverse sector.

We know positive impact builds reputation and trust with audiences. It shows leadership and genuine commitment to driving change. It inspires and fosters loyalty with employees and customers. It sets a brand’s purpose apart. And as demonstrated by this year’s nominees – when you get it right, it makes a real difference.