Sharing Ideas with China a Must, says SVN Co-Founder
Impact investing pioneer Wayne Silby says West has a responsibility to share lessons
Friday July 20, 2012 -- Camille Jensen
When Wayne Silby first invested in China Environment Fund 12 years ago, he remembers people questioning the intelligence of his decision. Now, China Environment Fund is the “go-to” clean-tech fund in China leading investments in clean energy, jobs and community development.
It’s impacts like these that the founder of $15-billion investment management group Calvert Investments says drives him to steadfastly work in China, a calling he’s followed for 15 years to support the country’s finance, business and political sectors in growing their economy in ways that care for all.
“I spend a lot of time in China, and I’m proud of that because if we don’t help communicate some of the things we’ve learned, and share our values with the Chinese, than we become a moot point,” says Silby, who co-founded Calvert Social Investment Fund, one of the earliest mutual funds dedicated to socially-responsible investments in 1976.
“It’s a big force emerging on the world, and we have a responsibility to share what we’ve learned with them.”
The co-founder of Social Venture Network (SVN) and Investors’ Circle does this in a number of ways. He is the founding chairman of Synato, which now has a staff of more than 20 focused on corporate social responsibility consulting in the world's second largest economy. He is also an advisor to the policy arm of the Chongchinq government, and was an advisor to the China Environment Fund, of which Calvert was a founding investor.
He’s also served as an advisor to the activities of Grameen America in China, and produced a documentary in Chinese on microfinance.
According to Silby, China looks to the major platforms of the West, which have an opportunity and obligation to express their ideas. By sharing successes and innovation for social good, Silby says China is able to interpret and adopt the ideas within their own context.
Silby most recently presented at a philanthropy conference in China to a room full of high-net worth investors, encouraging them to use their investments, and not donations, to do social good. It’s one of many gratifying moments for Silby, who is thrilled to see these concepts embraced in China.
For his work in pioneering impact investing and socially responsible business, Silby is being inducted into Social Venture Network’s Hall of Fame Nov. 13. He is one of 25 SVN leaders recognized as part of the network's 25-year anniversary celebrations.
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