How do you measure ‘benefit to humankind’ when assessing an investment?
Each project that we undertake must create value across three dimensions: financial, experiential and benefit to humankind. We see projects benefitting humankind in three situations. First, a project might directly benefit a community or society at large by its very nature, for example, by providing access to an innovative medical product or service that was not previously available. A second type of benefit or value is created when we back a project that provides a social service at benchmark quality, but at a lower cost or to more people. Since all of our chosen sub-sectors are in the arenas of human care, by increasing the quality of such services or the accessibility or affordability of such services, without compromising on quality, our projects will generally create the value we are seeking. Thirdly, we can create value indirectly by channeling benefits back to the communities that are stakeholders in our projects. For example, in one of our early projects we created a foundation for the company that committed 10% of net profits into relevant community projects for a ten-year period. The first commitment was a large grant to the scientific community because we recognized that the scientific community was important to the success of the company in the first place. So, this was justified on business grounds too. The overriding point is that all of our investments must benefit communities or society at large. They must benefit humankind in addition to our firm and investors.