In our connected world - undergoing profound changes, shaken up by digitalisation, challenged by the environmental and energy transition, and with ever widening social inequalities - innovation is a matter of survival. We all agree. But what is the purpose of this innovation?
The intensity and diversity that characterise the spirit of the Hello Tomorrow initiative naturally lead to a key question: what are these innovations all about? Not all innovation is good. We can no longer assume that “what I undertake or what I do with my money has little bearing, since I help to keep the economy going” in a Schumpeterian cycle of endless creative destruction. We now know that GDP growth is a poor indicator for measuring improvement in welfare, but is rather accurate in assessing the pace at which we use natural resources, destroy the biosphere and weaken the climate.
If there are no benefits for the stakeholders, there can be no success, no purpose and no point
Therefore selecting or adjusting a start-up company’s mission, or defining a fund’s investment strategy, becomes a founding act. The societal and environmental impact of a project, of an investment, is now a fundamental issue – whether the company has been recently launched or is a large publicly listed corporation.
It is our job to question the real advantages provided not only to the clients but also to society as a whole (users, residents, employees, suppliers…) and to the environment, from the very first euro we invest. If there are no benefits for the stakeholders, there can be no success, no purpose and no point. In this respect, the impact of the business model on human and natural capital provides a meaningful perspective, perfectly aligned with the interests of the capital providers.