From the Private Sector to Civil Society by Nishma Jethwa

22 September 2015

As private businesses start to join the international development community through CSR and pro bono initiatives, the lines between sectors begins to blur. I, myself, moved from a large corporate law firm in London to a small start-up foundation just last year. However, if you want to make a social impact, the move need not be so drastic.

More and more individuals in the city are using their skills in the social impact space. In fact, more and more big corporations are taking the lead in the international development, human rights and social impact spaces. Following the publishing of the Ruggie Guiding Principles in 2011, leading law firms have been looking closely at how they might address issues of business and human rights, both within their firms and with their clients. Similarly, management consultancies are growing whole practice areas around business and human rights issues. Banks are advising on how to invest to make a social impact while financiers are supporting social impact bonds as a way to finance innovation in development. Harnessing private resources and skills for public good is not a new concept but the enthusiasm for it does seem to be growing among the new generation of young professionals.

While we cannot speak to the individual motivation behind this, we hope to harness this enthusiasm through two of our programmes:

  1. the Women for Change Breakfast Club: a network dedicated to supporting women in the city who want their impact to reach far beyond their companies or industries into the realm of women’s rights, education, environment, international politics and much more!
  2. the Shiva Hotels partnership: engaging the hospitality and hotel industry to stand up for what is right – to look at their supply chains, customers and employers and to make hotels slavery free.

Each initiative in its unique way aims to engage the private sector in making positive social impact beyond surface level corporate social responsibility or diversity programmes. These programmes aim to harness the corporate spirit and business acumen and unleash it on the human rights and development issues of our time.

If you’re keen to find out more or want to be a part of this shift in cultures, contact us now on


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