Here are some examples of how we are taking a total portfolio approach, leveraging the impact of our philanthropic efforts and our investment portfolio.
SJF Ventures III
As part of its impact and sustainable investment portfolio, RS Group has committed capital to the SJF Ventures III private equity fund which focuses on the resource efficiency, sustainability and technology-enhanced services sectors in the US. Representative investment areas include resource efficiency and infrastructure, asset recovery including reuse and recycling, sustainable agriculture and food safety, health and wellness technology, education technology and digital media and marketing services.
SJF Ventures III is the first fund registered under the small business investment company (“SBIC”) scheme aimed at providing vital capital to small businesses nationwide resulting in economic growth and job creation. SJF Ventures is allied with the SJF Institute and Investors’ Circle, which foster early-stage impact investment and entrepreneurship nationwide. http://www.sjfventures.com
Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk) is a “social purpose organization” founded in 2007 to address Hong Kong’s most pressing urban problems via social innovation and entrepreneurship.
SVhk has a unique “Dual-engine” model:
1) SVhk Capital: venture philanthropy fund providing financial and non-financial support to high-impact social ventures in Hong Kong
2) SVhk Foundation: charitable organization promoting social innovation culture, inspiring change makers, and incubating innovative social solutions
RS Group has invested in SVhk because we firmly believe that it is playing an important role in nurturing Hong Kong’s social sector, in particular incubating a number of local social enterprises such as Dialogue in the Dark (HK) and Diamond Cab. SVhk has also been successful in building cross-sector partnerships amongst corporations, academia, government and NGOs. Gathering a diverse group of outstanding professionals to volunteer and provide capacity support to entrepreneurs, it has in turn played a catalytic role in the development of numerous initiatives.
In recognition of the dedication and leadership of SVhk’s CEO, Francis Ngai was nominated to receive the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award Hong Kong 2011 and was named as Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum 2012.
Land Rights in China
RS Group has been supporting Landesa, an award-winning global non-profit organization that partners with governments and others in India, China and Africa to help provide secure land rights to poor rural families and women, for whom land is often their only source of livelihood. Among other things, Landesa works with governments, local communities and investors to protect those rights in the face of ever-increasing demand for agricultural land in the developing world. While land-based investments present an opportunity for economic development, they can lead to a loss of access and rights to land, water and other natural resources for local communities, especially women.
Beyond our grant support to Landesa, we are exploring how we can integrate the mission of securing land rights for the poor and sustainable development in our investment portfolio. We firmly believe that companies should integrate land rights security into their business practices in order to increase farmer productivity, mitigate business risks and facilitate a social license to operate. This integration would usually involve (at a minimum) a land rights situational assessment, risk assessment regarding adverse impacts to rights holders and related business impacts to the investor, determination of mitigating measures and a simple monitoring and evaluation scheme. Land rights that are unclear, weak and poorly governed are a danger for companies investing directly or indirectly in land. Respecting land rights is essential to effective risk management and long term financial success.