Ben & Jerry's Board Member Terry Mollner on the Sweetness of a Values-Led Business

This blog is part of our Inspired Ethonomics series. Pierre is an Investor, Director, and VP of Marketing for Guayaki Yerba Mate and will be profiling businesses with a triple-bottom line agenda.

As we continue to explore the socially responsible business space by meeting and talking with some of the leading thinkers, we will see how certain themes keep surfacing. One obstacle to the development of large values led business is the issue of growth capital. Over the past 2-3 decades, few investors have been willing to apparently lower their expected financial returns for the perceived risk of investing in triple bottom line (that's people, planet, profit) companies. Investors

The number of investors willing to be "patient" with their investees is growing but remains very small relative the broader community. My estimate is less than a $1 billion over the past 10 years has been deployed toward triple-bottom-line businesses. This has had two obvious effects. The virtuous companies have been starved of capital, which has limited their growth and impact. This has pushed many of them, including Ben and Jerry's, to sell to larger companies--Unilever, in the case of Ben and Jerry's. An interesting Harvard working paper on all this is titled "Can the virtuous mouse and the wealthy elephant live happily ever after?" (No. 09-047, James E. Austin and Herman B. Leonard).

Terry Mollner, chair of the board Calvert Foundation, has been involved in developing capital sources that are indeed in harmony with values led businesses and recognize that the highest priority for those businesses is the good of all. I talked with him about this perplexing issue and he discusses an organization that is at the leading edge of this issue. What do you think? What else could we develop? How do we make sure our newest ethical enterprises find a way to become global players with their values and practices intact. How else can we change the world for the better?

(Image: Annualized Total Returns After Fees via HIP Investor)


Pierre_GuayakiPierre Ferrari is an investor, director and VP of Marketing for Guayakí Yerba Mate, a company that combines scaled reforestation in South America, the reparation of many small communities and the marketing of Guayakí Yerba Mate. From 1995 on, Pierre focused his energies on a variety of social issues ranging from International Relief and Development, Conscientious Commerce, and Emerging Markets. He is president of "Hot Fudge" social venture capital fund, a community development venture capital fund whose purpose is to use venture capital to create jobs, entrepreneurial capacity and wealth that advance the livelihoods and wealth opportunities of low-income people and the economies of distressed communities.

Pierre holds a Masters degree in Economics from The University of Cambridge and a MBA from Harvard Business School. He has two sons, married to Kimberly, in awe of two stepdaughters, reads voraciously, and enjoys golf.

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2 Comments

  • pamelahawley

    Pierre and Terry, thank you so much for these thoughts on how good work can also be good business. I became a social entrepreneur because I wanted to marry my love of good business principles with my passion for changing the world. Part of my work now includes UniversalGiving Corporate™ (UGC), a customized service that helps companies manage their global Corporate Social Responsibility Programs. UGC supports a company's bottom line through improved corporate brand image, employee attraction/retention and client attraction/retention, as well as increased security and trust in giving across the world. Just as you observe here--good work and social responsibility will improve a company's image, benefiting their business--and the world.

    I also appreciated the observation re: how beneficial it is to employees to work for a socially responsible company. What beautiful words about employees being able to bring their hearts to their work. It's so important to remember that a company's employees are not only workers but people, people who care about what they and their company are doing. Including employee volunteering as part of a CSR program is a wonderful way to increase employee involvement and speak to the whole person and the heart employees have for giving back.

    I'm excited to anticipate the future with social good as an increasing focus for businesses!

    Sincerely,
    Pamela Hawley
    Founder and CEO
    UniversalGiving

    phawley@universalgiving.org
    www.universalgiving.org

    Living and Giving blog
    www.pamelahawley.wordpress.com

  • Sandra Zimmer

    Thank you Terry! It is exciting to see the beginnings of validation that the human heart has value in the marketplace. We are all connected, business is about connection and attention to caring creates an energy that expands and increases love AND money.

    Sandra Zimmer
    www.self-expression.com