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 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.