Shahnaz wins Social Impact Award
8 October 2014 at 9:37 am
The Founder and Chairperson of the Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) and Impact Investment Shujog (Shujog) Professor Durreen Shahnaz has won the 2014 Joseph Wharton Award for Social Impact.
The Joseph Wharton Award is one of the highest honors that the Wharton Business School confers on its alumni.
This award recognizes Professor Shahnaz’s efforts in bringing impact investing to the masses through her work at IIX and Shujog. The orgnisations, both Singapore-based, have been at the forefront of driving impact investing, particularly across the Asia Pacific region.
In her acceptance speech, Professor Shahnaz said “equitable and sustainable growth cannot be reached within our current systems. There has to be a middle ground between profit maximizing businesses and charitable organizations that rely on donations”.
“This middle ground, or third way, is impact investing, a vibrant marketplace where social, environmental and financial returns come together.
“IIX and Shujog have created a vibrant ecosystem for impact investing with thousands of companies and individuals working together to create a financial system that works for all and where everyone can be a participant. The work of the two organisations have impacted the lives of more than 10 million people positively while bringing an average return of over 10% for the investors.”
Professor Shahnaz accepted the award at the Metropolitan Club, New York City. Other recipients of the 2014 Joseph Wharton Awards include Robert Crandall, Former Chairman of American Airlines, Alex Gorsky, Chairman of Johnson & Johnson and Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, Co-founders and Co-CEOs of Warby Parker.
Professor Shahnaz said the Wharton alumni have made incredible contributions to society by their professional work and philanthropic giving.
She urged her colleagues to “…join me in this journey of the ‘third way’, not only as a moral obligation, but to be a part of history in the making."
Durreen Shahnaz was an international keynote speaker in Australia in November 2013 where she hailed impact investing for its potential to change the world.
Speaking to an audience of top social finance experts at the Social Marketplace conference in Sydney as the founder of the world’s first social stock exchange, she championed social capital markets as a way to promote inclusion worldwide and solve inequality between rich and poor.
Shahnaz, a native of Bangladesh, recalled her modest upbringing in the country and lamented the growing gulf in Asia between the “haves” and “have-nots” – a region with a booming middle class but more than 1.1 billion people suffering from multidimensional poverty.
“There is not enough dollars for philanthropy and not enough hearts in capital markets to solve this inequitable growth,” Shahnaz said at the time.