Business for good

Feb. 11, 2019, 1:00 a.m.

The President’s State of the Union address and the reactions to it have highlighted the absence of a national agreement on the appropriate role for the government to play in improving the lives of our citizens and, more importantly, the lives of our children and grandchildren. I don’t know anyone who does not want our nation to be great!

I also know no one who believes socialism is the way to achieve that. However, as the world keeps turning, and many of our problems worsen, it is not responsible for us to wait for that agreement to occur. The most constructive action we can take may be to start and help build businesses with this goal. I have been investing in for-profit companies with public purpose for 16 years, with excellent results. Below I list and describe briefly, my recent investments and two companies where I serve as a Director. My goal is to motivate more people and institutions to do the same.

Clean Fund — This is a leading provider of cost-effective financing for energy efficiency, water conservation and other projects. By incorporating credit quality-enhancing PACE techniques, Clean Fund reduces the cost of financing, thereby promoting these pro-social projects.

Proterra — The leading U.S.-based electric bus company, the company has delivered buses to 90 customers, replacing diesel buses with lower cost of operation, cleaner electric buses, saving public and private funds and improving the lives of bus riders.

Shared–X — This company decreases the agricultural yield gap between the developing and the developed world by introducing cost-effective modern agricultural techniques, and reducing the cost of reaching end markets through direct distribution. Smallholder farmers in Peru have seen a fivefold increase in their incomes.

Bright Heart Health — This company provides online opioid addiction treatment programs, making treatment available to those in remote areas for the first time and to others at a much-reduced cost.

Healyx Labs — Providing negative pressure wound therapy at a fraction of the cost of current solutions, Healyx Labas opens up a worldwide market for the product and provides significant cost savings to the developed world.

Amava — Amava’s mission is to enhance health, longevity and community through flexible, socially-engaging work and unique experiences.  Amava helps people Discover Their Next ™ as they transition beyond their full-time careers.

Having invested early in Tesla, Solar City, Revolution Foods and others, I have seen that this can work, both financially and socially. Please join me in supporting companies like these. Students, upon graduation you can join companies like these to make a difference in the world. In some cases, you’ll make a bigger difference than with well-intentioned NGOs.

— Michael C. Dorsey ’77, Yale SOM ’81, continuing DCI Fellow ’18, one of the pioneers of Double Bottom Line investing.

Contact Michael C. Dorsey at michael.chester.dorsey ‘at’ 

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