The Agenda | Vol. 21 | Social Business in 2020


Showing the world how impactful storytelling drives behavior

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Tis the season.

To be jolly? Well, sure, but also to reflect on the top social impact communications trends of 2019, and make some predictions for what’s to come.

What are the stories from the Impact Relations community that inspired or frustrated you this year? And what do you think the future holds? Tweet us and we’ll share them with the Global Impact Relations Network.

Business leaders are forced to acknowledge the climate emergency

Photo: The Guardian

It was a terrible year for the environment, with record Arctic ice melts, the razing of the Amazon, flooding in Venice, and still-burning fires in the Australian outback that may have irreparably decimated the koala population. Though the news was dire, arguably it led to a rise in consumer consciousness about the effect our buying decisions have on the longevity of a livable planet. A growing number of companies got wise to the need to be better and do better, either by overhauling CSR policies to go beyond charity, undertaking B Corp certification, or hiring from among a crop of newly minted impact consultants, to examine their business and challenge where profit was being prioritized at the expense of our world and its inhabitants.

Capitalism for an environmentally endangered age

Purpose still driving Gen Z

Photo: We Social Entrepreneurs program

In 2019, social entrepreneurship was still far from a ubiquitous term, but Gen Z is well versed in it and seeking out socially impactful careers. A number of North American colleges and universities now offer social entrepreneurship programs, and impact-centric organizations like WE Charity are rolling out programs to help budding social entrepreneurs learn about the socent ecosystem and access the resources they need to scale. Its newly launched WE Social Entrepreneurs program aims to provide programming to 3,000 young social entrepreneurs across Canada by the end of 2020, with 25 per cent being provided to vulnerable populations.

Social entrepreneurship will drive future generations

Purpose-driven business in 2020

Global Impact Relations Network partner Purpose Collaborative is about to publish its 2020 Purpose Predictions on what the year ahead holds in social business, and GIRN founder Melissa Orozco weighed in. At the core of her prediction: the social and environmental problems we face in 2020 are larger than governments, nonprofits and NGOs can tackle alone — we should both expect and welcome an influx of companies putting “social” at the forefront of their enterprise (so long as they’re willing to walk the walk). As communicators, we have an opportunity and an obligation to provide these companies with the leadership they need to both do good and look good, and to address the challenge of cause-washing with absolute transparency about their impact on the world.

2020 Predictions for Purpose-Driven Brands

Podcasts we love

UNscripted: Are you mystified by the inner workings of the United Nations, one of the world’s most revered, but notoriously bureaucratic institutions? UNscripted looks beyond the tightly scripted policy speeches to tell the stories behind the debates on the most pressing issues of our time.


Are you telling socially impactful stories? We want to hear from you! The Global Impact Relations Network will be sharing a Campaign of the Week on social, and standouts may be included in upcoming editions of The Agenda. Submit your story here.



Thanks for reading,

— Ashley Letts, Managing Editor

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