Upturn in social investing

The Community Shares Unit (CSU), an independent assessor, gave its first quality mark to Benenden’s local village shop, which had raised £70,000 from 300 local people, enabling it to stay open and serve its community.

Local shops and pubs, and also community renewable energy schemes, have been the most common users of the social investing scheme. Most take the form of cooperatives or community benefit societies. The CSU’s quality mark is intended to demonstrate good governance, not an assurance of returns.

Though these schemes do offer shareholders a return, the prime motivation for investing is social rather than financial.