Luke Cross, former editor of Social Housing magazine, has joined Manchester-based communications consultancy Social as a director to set up a specialist environmental, social and governance division and lead the agency’s expansion into London.
Cross has joined Social after a seven-year stint as editor of Social Housing and head of a digital data & research business for HousingExpert, both within the Ocean Media group.
Social’s ESG division, known as Social Invest, will launch officially later in the autumn and will work with investors and the financial markets, the social and affordable housing sectors, local government and placemaking, and the development and real estate sectors.
Its aim is to help these organisations define and drive the positive social and environmental impact they are creating for local communities and society as a whole.
Cross said: “For some time now the financial community has been moving towards a new way of thinking and investing, with environmental, social and governance issues heavily influencing decision-making.
“I’ve spent a number of years covering finance in social and affordable housing – now a sector that’s raising the bar in ESG reporting in the UK – and have seen how ‘good finance’ and the right kind of investment can connect with social purpose.
“Where Social Invest will come in is to help funders, non-profits and businesses tell their stories, define and amplify their message, and crucially, speak a common language, to each other and the wider world.”
John Quinton-Barber, founder and chief executive at Social, said: “Setting up Social Invest with Luke at the helm is a perfect fit for Social.
“In the post-Covid world, organisations are going to be under more scrutiny than ever about the way they deliver business. Luke’s experience and credibility with the target sectors mean they couldn’t be in better hands.”
Social employs 40 staff in total.