Breakout Series 2: Making Social Good Profitable: What Does It Take?

24-May-2016 Return to conference program

2:15pm to 3:45pm

Room Z207


Vishal Mehta
Co-Founder & Partner
Lok Advisory Services


Jessica Matthews
Managing Director, Head of Mission-Related Investing Practice
Cambridge Associates
Lindy Lek
Executive Director
Social Impact Partners Limited (SIP)
Ronie Mak
Managing Director
RS Group
Nicholas John Lazos
Co-founder & Director
Insitor Management

Session Description
Philanthropic giving and grant making have existed for centuries. With the increasing relevance of social investing, the idea of doing good not just well, but sustainably and potentially even profitable has become a realistic possibility.

India and Mexico have seen the successful IPOs of SKS Microfinance and Compartamos. Recent reports by Cambridge Associates and GIIN1 and EngagedX2 have located this profit on average on a spectrum from +6.9% return to -10% or 90% capital preservation worth varying transparency.

Yet, the oversubscribed IPOs of SKS Microfinance and Compartamos triggered a backlash about the ethics in making money of the poor, questioning an equation with loan sharks3.

Similarly the recent reports on the profitability of the social investing triggered fears of an influx of main-stream investors with no regard for social impact or a shift of grant funders from catalytic philanthropy to market-based social solutions, thus neglecting the non-market solutions with high social impact in need of grant funding4.

This session aims to explore the ways in which non-social stakeholders can be engaged. In doing this, panellists will bridge the gap between the philosophical and the practical to understand how one can combine the two to improve social impact efforts beyond microfinance.

Key Takeaways for Audience

  • The ethical aspect of profiting from social good- will social values succumb to the power of capital?
  • How much is sufficient/enough/too much?
  • What’s social about social investment? Who are social investors and what do they want?
  • How can we create fairer and more transparent investment models that help overcome inequality/satisfy all stakeholders?
  • What are the practical steps different actors on this spectrum take to combine the two?