Host Georgia Levenson Keohane speaks with Sir Ronald Cohen, chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and the Portland Trust; co-founder and director of Social Finance UK, USA, and Israel; and co-founder and chair of Bridges Fund Management and Big Society Capital. His latest book, Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change, examines the many ways impact investing can help us achieve more just, inclusive, and broad-based prosperity. Given the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges we are living through, this book couldn’t be more timely.
In this conversation, we explore the early days of impact investing, including social impact bonds and outcomes-based financing — and its evolution and growth over time. We look at very innovative and mission-driven companies addressing challenges in health, financial inclusion, and other areas, and discuss how new ways to measure risk, return and impact, specifically impact weighted accounts, can help us properly value the true impact — positive and negative — of all companies, and therefore drive real change across the capital markets and across our economy and society.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Sir Ronald Cohen, Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change (Ebury Press, November 3, 2020)
- Ronald Cohen and George Serafeim, “How to Measure a Company’s Real Impact,” (Harvard Business Review, September 3, 2020)
- Ronald Cohen, “How to Mobilize a Global Testing Effort: Pay for Success” (Barron’s, April 18, 2020)
- Impact-Weighted Accounts Project (Harvard Business School)
About Sir Ronald Cohen
Sir Ronald Cohen has spent more than two decades at the forefront of the impact investing revolution. Since 2000, he has chaired various task forces that helped launch the field, including the Social Impact Investing Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8 (2013-2015), the Social Investment Task Force (2000-2010), and the Commission on Unclaimed Assets (2005-2007). In 2012 he received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Innovation Award for innovation in social finance.
This pioneer of impact investing also brought venture capital and private equity to the United Kingdom. Sir Ronald co-founded and was executive chairman of Apax Partners Worldwide LLP (1972-2005) and was founder and chairman of both the British and European Venture Capital Associations. Sir Ronald has held several board and leadership roles at his alma maters, Oxford University and Harvard Business School, as well as the British Museum and the Institute for Strategic Studies.
About the Capital for Good Podcast
Presented by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, and hosted by Georgia Levenson Keohane, seasoned executive, award winning author, and an adjunct professor of social enterprise at Columbia Business School, the Capital for Good podcast provides a chance to hear from corporate and civic leaders about their visions, plans, commitments, and on the ground efforts to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society. Each episode features in depth and candid conversations with leaders across the private, nonprofit, and public sectors on unpacking solutions to some of our most urgent challenges. Learn more at bit.ly/KforGood.