Trust me, I’m an impact investor: How your funds can feed, heal, and power the world

 
Johnny Hon
Dr. Raquel Chan displays test plants (Ar
Investing in new fields such as biotech, agricultural technology and green technology will not only benefit us now, but for many generations to come (Source: Getty)

If you thought that being an altruistic investor and generating financial returns were mutually exclusive, you would be wrong.

Investment has the potential to be rewarding financially as well as giving back to the global community through transforming safety, sustainability, and security.

There are currently over seven billion people living in the world. This is expected to increase by a further two billion by 2050.

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Population growth will create global challenges – whether they be in the environment, energy, food production, or safety, as well as access to healthcare and education. These problems will be felt most acutely in the developing world.

Before announcing that we’re all doomed – there is a solution: technology.

Investing in new fields such as biotech, agricultural technology and green technology will not only benefit us now, but for many generations to come.

Though these investments may not appear as glamorous as autonomous driving cars, for example, they are fundamental to safeguarding all our futures.

We are seeing strides being taken by China and India, which are increasingly investing in technologies in Europe and the Americas that will help provide solutions to the significant challenges of the future.

Impact investing will be vital to a range of businesses in different sectors throughout the UK, North America and Asia. The benefits are twofold: not only will this address the issue of supply and demand, it will also be financially rewarding.

Many of these technologies will also provide cures for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes – which have a huge impact on global population numbers and mortality rates.

As artificial intelligence continues to grow within the biotech industry, robots will be able to run simulations and provide solutions concurrently – something that would have otherwise taken years for a scientist to complete.

On the diagnostic side of medicine, enhanced technology will enable diseases to be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The earlier you can detect a problem, the sooner you will be able to find the right solution. Investing in these technologies is key not only in developing countries, but all over the world. In turn, this will reduce the need for invasive surgery, improve mortality rates in developing countries, and lower costs to the medical industry.

By identifying areas that require investment and that could improve life expectancy and quality, investors have the potential to make a real impact and to change the lives of many millions of people.

We owe it to future generations to provide a legacy of innovation to ensure people are well looked after, whether this is through fertilisers and farming, gene therapy and modification, or advances in plant and breeding programmes.

My own first degree was in medical science and my Ph.D was in psychiatry. But ultimately, I chose a business rather than a medical career, as I believed that I could help more people in the world as a successful entrepreneur than as a doctor.

The exciting developments across technology are helping to make my personal dream a reality.

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City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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