‘Super’ Solution to Solve the Big Issues
22 October 2013 at 10:40 am
A national summit of young Australian philanthropists has been told that a superannuation fund could be the solution to solving some of the world's systemic social challenges.
Entrepreneurs Dr Aron Ping D'Souza and Phil Kingston have launched Good Super, described as Australia's only social impact superannuation fund, at the Nexus Australian Youth Summit in Sydney saying the fund will invest in "profitable solutions to the grand challenges that face society".
"We want to build the great nation," Dr D'Souza said.
"As Jan [Owen, Foundation for Young Australians Chief Executive] said, Australia has the fifth highest GDP per capita in the world, the second highest community development index.
"We have all these things yet we have not been able to solve the problems like the inequality of indigenous people, the inequality of women, regional disadvantage, mass transport, climate change, and that is because we've been relying on government to solve these things and now we have to think about new institutions. One of which is, I hope, Good Super."
Dr D'Souza is Chair of the organising committee for Nexus Australia, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova in Australia and a director of a property development consortium.
D'Souza and partner Kingston, Executive Chairman of Kingston Equities and a "serial entrepreneur", say they have been developing the idea for about a year. It is a venture that was developed alongside getting Nexus to Australia, which has taken two years.
"We believe we can do this and we are pretty proud to be launching this fund here at Nexus because this is where the idea for this really began," Dr D'Souza said.
"I went to Nexus two years ago and I had two inspirations; one was that we had to bring this movement to Australia and we're doing that now, and the second was that I listened to Sir Ronald Cohen, who basically invented social finance, and I thought 'that's a really brilliant idea; what can I do to bring innovative models of social finance to Australia' and now we're doing that with Good Super."
When explaining its development, Dr D'Souza said that despite liberal democracy and capitalism being great institutions that had solved most of the problems of human history, "in many respects liberal democracy and capitalism may have exhausted their mandate".
"Democracy has solved [almost] every problem that it is capable of solving," he said.
"All the easy problems are done, all we're left with is the hard, long-term problems and we're really bad at solving these now.
"Climate change is the perfect example because it's a 20, 30, 40-year problem and every election cycle there's a different solution and each government turns down the previous reiteration.
"What is the solution? The solution is towards alternative institutions and one of those is superannuation.
"There's $1.6 trillion funds under management in super. It's a whole lot of money with a whole lot of time. And a lot of time and a lot of money can solve virtually any problem.
"That's what we are trying to do with Good Super, is to look at the grand systemic challenges in the world and use superannuation to solve those challenges. This isn't philanthropy, this is pure investment because I believe that if we solve these problems, like climate change we mitigate long-term social risk, which solves financial risk, which then allows for a higher return on our members' investment."
The fund will work in partnership with ANZ, AMP, Perpetual, Social Ventures Australia and Tridos.
"We're investing in good companies that meet certain social performance standards, because I believe changing the behaviour of listed companies is actually the most important thing we can do in this country, because listed companies have a disproportionate control of power," Dr D'Souza said.
"We're also investing with Social Ventures Australia with their impact investment fund to really try and kick start this whole sector of impact investment."
To find out more about Good Super, visit https://www.goodsuper.com.au.