A heads up from Oxfam on impact investment

‘In a report launched by Oxfam and Sumerian Partners today, we argue that it’s time to look at impact investing differently; to start with a focus on the needs of the businesses working to make a meaningful impact on poverty reduction, rather than on the investors who stand to benefit from their work. Enterprises working in this space are in new territory — continually adapting their business models, earning low and slow returns and operating in markets that are subject to considerable exogenous shocks (e.g., economic instability, weak infrastructure, extreme weather events and poorly developed value chains). These firms will make decisions that can seem irrational if your focus is market return. They may seek out “at risk” populations, such as single moms balancing the demands of work and family, as employees. They may share ownership and decision-making with their workers. They may pay their suppliers not the price that is commonly expected in the market, but a higher price the firm sees as “fair.” The businesses themselves, and the funds that put their money into these firms, organize around the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return — and that prioritization is reflected in their structures, processes and activities.’


Now read this about investing in childcare reform. It was published 10 years ago by our social enterprise in Ukraine. It fell on deaf ears and our founder died in his efforts to gain support:

“In this case, for the project now being proposed, it is constructed precisely along these lines. Childcare reform as outlined above will pay for itself in reduced costs to the state. It will need investment for about five years in order to cover the cost of running two programs in parallel: the existing, extremely problematic state childcare scheme, and the new program needed to replace it for the purpose of giving children a decent life. The old program will be phased out as the new program is phased in. After this phase transition is complete, the state will from that time forward pay out less money for state childcare. Children will have a better life, and will be more likely to become healthy, productive assets to the nation rather than liabilities with diminished human development, diminished education, and the message that they are not important — the basis for serious trouble. There is no need whatsoever to give these children less than a good quality of life as they grow and mature. The only problem is reorganization of existing resources.”

“People should replace profit as the bottom line”, says Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring

“The New Bottom Line is people”, said the social enterprise who now appeal to JK Rowling.

Highlighting the accumulation of wealth in the hands of 8 people, Oxfam called for a new economic model.

Highlighting the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few. People-Centered Economic development described a new economic model measured and calibrated in terms of human beings