Gus's Musings

July 31, 2013

Impact Investing

This is a term that I heard last week while listening to Mike Hirst (MD of Bendigo Adelaide Bank Ltd) speak at a Northern Mallee Leaders function in Mildura.  The term describes investing where receiving a monetary return is only a portion of the outcome, the investment needs to deliver on some of society’s values as well, such as stronger communities or healthier environment etc.  This is a new term for an attitude that some businesses such as Bendigo Bank have been taking for a long time, it is also the attitude that our business takes.

We see making a monetary profit as only a portion of the story, in order to truly profit we see the need to improve the health of our landscape, improve our skills, take holidays and provide adequate challenges for us and our business to improve, to name a few.  While some may say that being able to invest in all the extras such as us is a luxury, we really only see money as “fuel for our life values”, so we don’t work, we live a profitable life.

We take this attitude from when we were right in the middle of the drought, we were making no money, in fact we had sold a lot of our stock for about $30/hd (we later bought stock in for >$100 and profited) in order to look after our land, our state of mind and our lifestyle.  We made some tough decisions in order to stay in business so we decided that in the re-design of our business back to profitability we can never forget the wonderful way of life that we have or the responsibility to look after the landscape for the future.

How do you view your investment in farming?



  1. Mark

    Hi Gus
    More people /farmers are thinking about what you are referring to , money is not the be all in life ,being happy with life is , there are many that are happy yet not making a mountain of money .
    How to get people to realize this is the question ?????
    Cheers Mark

  2. Heidi Wright

    A great blog Gus. We all need to be sustainable not only in business but also in life! I agree Mark, more people are starting to look at the bigger picture which incorporates things like quality of life and happiness. Maybe it comes down to attitude and how people have been brought up to view ‘work’ and what success looks like. A lot of people are flat out trying to make ‘things work’ with money as the focus rather than taking the time to understand the fundamentals that underpin a fruitful business in the first place, i.e healthy landscapes, soils, animals, people, the list goes on.

  3. admin

    Thanks for adding to my post Mark & Heidi. I think a lot of people will chase money until that need is sated, then they may look to other values in life. This realisation can also come from a health scare or some other tragedy in life that allows you to refocus. It is so much better/easier if that decision can be made without something nasty happening first.
    As far as how do we have people realise this, I think there will need to be something significant happen that will shake and change the status quo. Unfortunately most people don’t change unless something forces them to do so.

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