Look around you – the television in front of you, the air conditioner over your head, the laptop or mobile screen you are reading this article from, and all the appliances that are running to help you spend your leisure time with ease. Turn your head to the left or right, you’ll still find yourself surrounded by technology.
Technology has certainly made our lives easy. It has been a friend to us, helping us live our life comfortably. But as much as it has come to our rescue, it has earned a bad reputation for risking the environment.
But as we grow more mindful of the environmental impact of technology, we are coming up with technological solutions that generate social and environmental benefits without compromising on financial gains. This is what impact investing is about.
Interestingly, according to a recent report published by The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). the impact investment market in the world now stands at $715 billion. The figures are sufficient to conclude that impact investing certainly has a potential in impact investing.
Billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur Tej Kohli too foresees the great potential of impact investing. Owing to this, he has already invested a sizeable amount in technological ventures that support the environment.
According to Kohli, the best place to invest to solve a number of problems are the economically backward countries that lack an advanced technological infrastructure. This investment can lead to positive changes, including advances in democracy, and agricultural sustainability as per a report published by Stanford University. Furthermore, targeting financial resources in sectors having the highest social and economic rate of return is an ideal place to start as well.
As we are inching toward the era that would be dominated by Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, investment in such areas can be fruitful not only to yield financial gains but to help the social and environmental sectors. Both these technologies have the potential to impact developing economies significantly. According to Bastiaan den Braber, a venture adviser at LUMA Labs, pairing these technologies with smart money from ventures has helped the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations significantly.
What we know for sure is that artificial intelligence has a lot of potential in the future. It might not completely eliminate human effort, but it can support business and industrial growth. All the reasons why, the billionaire philanthropist Mr. Tej Kohli has already invested a whopping $100m into Rewired, a robotics-focused venture studio that will pave way for a new brighter economy, transform businesses, and revolutionize global healthcare infrastructure. Blockchain technology has done the same already. This technology is being utilized to engage with patients and enhance health outcomes in developing countries.
Not so surprisingly, the Global Health Investment Fund features a portfolio of companies that strive to develop pharmaceutical products in technologically advanced parts of the world. Several impact investment opportunities in AI, robotics, and ocean technology have also shown great potential to transform poor countries for the better.
In a nutshell, impact investments have enormous potential to help solve numerous problems that governments cannot fix on their own. These investments can also yield decent returns and still serve as a responsible way to channel financial resources for the social good.
The impact investment sector may not be as significant as the banking and investment sector of the US, but it can still grow ten-fold in the near future. According to Sir Ronald Cohen, it is very likely that in the coming years, the investment would be about returns, risk, and impact.
Till then, we are the audience. We are to see what impact investment unfolds for the world.