According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), “impact investments are the investments made in companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating social and environmental impact while generating financial returns.”
In a report by JP Morgan and GIIN released in 2014, “impact investors” invested about $11 billion dollars in almost five thousand projects in 2014. In the 2016 edition, that number rose to $15.2 billion in more than seven thousand five hundred projects, an increase of more than 35% in investments and 15% in the number of projects. The trend is clear; it is increasingly understood that companies exist in society and not in spite of society and the practice of pursuing profit in a sustainable way is systematized from the conception of the business plan.
In fact, initiatives that, until recently, would launch into the market as non-profits or even CSR projects within corporations, have begun to be structured as for-profit-for-good, since funding for non-profit projects in the initial phase is much more limited and restrictive. Besides, corporate social responsibility projects depend on tax deductions and are managed in a much more bureaucratic way.
Michael Porter, a Harvard professor, speaks in his TED about the role of business in solving social problems. He points out that after decades of learning and hard work, there has not been much progress in non-profit initiatives and government agencies (alone) in finding solutions to these problems.
The fundamental problem, according to Porter, is that these entities cannot scale. They can show benefits and results, but they cannot generate impact on a large scale without more resources.
Where can we find these resources in society? In profit. When a business solves problems with profit, it creates wealth and this wealth enables scalable solutions.
Good for Profit and Profit for Good presents a workable framework for entrepreneurs to structure their new business with a focus on profit for social impact, generating the ideal win-win world we are all looking for.
From case studies and market benchmarks, participants will be inspired to exercise their corporate citizenship.