Thursday, April 19, 2007

Social investing...with live cultures!

Danone (makers of Dannon Yogurt) and the Grameen Bank are partnering to launch a mutual fund that will invest in factories and jobs for people in some of the poorest countries.

"Danone said it hopes to raise $135-million through the fund, which expects an annual return of around 4 percent, comparable to a standard money-market account. The proceeds will help construct plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Madagascar that will produce fortified yogurt, which would be distributed among the rural poor."

(Um, I think the word "distributed" in that last sentence probably means "sold." Just to be clear.)

This reminds me of Bobby Shriver's discussion at GPF of how the cardboard boxes used to sell the (RED) phone were sourced from a plant in Africa. Its not that the idea is so new - actually providing jobs where they are needed - but Shriver pointed out that it is a way to "get into the cash that is tied up in companies' cost of doing business."

That, my friends, is a lot of cash that is already being spent that could be re-purposed for social benefit. Seems like a good stream of money to get good works into.

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