The man who has become known as “the father of impact investing” has called on leaders across business, government and civil society to join an “Impact Revolution”.
Sir Ronald Cohen made the call to arms at the Global Steering Group for Impact Investing's annual summit in Delhi.
“Comrades,” Sir Ronald said, “it’s clear that capitalism in its present form has fundamental flaws. It’s not delivering on its promise to share prosperity and to bring social progress for all.”
Comrades, it’s clear that capitalism in its present form has fundamental flaws
“We have persisted through many crises with the view that the system can be tinkered with,” he said. “But we have now reached the stage where the scale of these challenges is so daunting that even the most sceptical are saying that something has to be done.
“Nothing less than a revolution will enable us to achieve solutions at a scale that can improve billions of lives and our planet.”
Launching On Impact – A Guide to the Impact Revolution, the former-refugee-turned-multi-millionaire set out “8 Beliefs” upon which to build the campaign:
Impact is the measure of an action’s benefit to society and the planet – we must shift it to the centre of our consciousness.
When weighing business and investment decisions, we must adopt a new paradigm of risk-return-impact.
It is possible to do well and do good at the same time.
Impact can be measured and compared.
We must come together to adopt pay-for-success impact models.
Let’s shift to measuring outcomes, not activities.
Impact entrepreneurs are powerful allies, and we should support their efforts globally.
Let’s act now, there’s never been a greater need or a better time.
Sir Ronald, who also pioneered venture capitalism across Europe, declared that by the end of 2019 his team would deliver an impact-weighted accounting framework acceptable to a number of industries – including impact profit and loss and an impact balance sheet – so that organisations could compare the impact they were making.
He said it was a myth that impact could not be measured and a myth that making impact and making profit could not happen together.
“Measurement is the navigation system of the impact investment rocket ship,” he said.
“Impact investment does not have to involve delivering below-market returns… We can make more profits because of impact. We can attract more talent because of impact. We can grow funds because of impact.”
Measurement is the navigation system of the impact investment rocket ship
He said everybody from millennials to the consumer, the pension saver, the asset manager, the entrepreneur, the commissioner and the politician could be the “standard bearers of this revolution”.
“We have the will and we have the way,” he concluded. “There has never been a better time than now – let’s do it.”