In the developing world, a great deal of the responsibility for driving social progress falls onto the shoulders of for-profit, private sector organisations.
Businesses often make significantly greater contributions to societal wellbeing than can be achieved by the patchy, low quality coverage of state entities. Typically, it is local emerging market entrepreneurs who are making the most significant contributions towards raising standards and increasing access within critical industries such as healthcare, education and financial services.
For such businesses, the scope for impact generation and the long-term revenue growth opportunity are one and the same. As they scale, the benefits conferred by their core operations extend from thousands of consumers, to potentially many millions. The growth of such companies genuinely makes the world a better place. This is particularly true of those enlightened businesses which seek to benefit not just private shareholders, but all stakeholders: customers, employees and society as a whole. In doing so, they often generate greater financial value over the long-term than they would have done by seeking to ‘artificially’ elevate short- term profits, and in doing so simply deferring costs to the next generation.
For us, it is axiomatic that investors seeking to maximise the positive impact of their investments should seek out emerging and frontier markets, where the need for capital is greater, populations are much larger, and lower market values produce much higher ‘impact bang for your buck’.