Impact investing is an investment strategy where capital is deployed to enterprises that generate social and environmental benefits. These often include projects from clean water and clean energy to sustainable community, healthcare, education, gender equality, and more. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)sets out a universal plan of action to achieve sustainable development in a balanced manner and seeks to realize the human rights of all people. “It calls for leaving no one behind and for ensuring that these sets of goals are met for all segments of society, at all ages, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable—including older persons.”
Globally, in 2015, one in eight people was 60 or older; in 2030, this will increase to one in six people, and by 2050, one in five people. While aging is universal, how we age is not. Increased longevity of global populations present challenges on all fronts – from healthcare, financial services, work policy, transportation, housing, and beyond. How might we envision a sustainable society where workers earn a living wage and are protected from age discrimination; where city planners adapt age-friendly smart city designs that take into consideration of the social and accessibility needs of the aged; where there is adequate access to affordable and quality healthcare, particularly for those who are older and live in poverty?
With challenges come opportunities
With global spending power of those aged 60 and above expected to reach $15 trillion annually by 2020, there are plenty of opportunities for organizations to “do well while doing good”, especially around digital innovation to help older adults maintain social connections. While technology cannot replace human interaction, it can play an important role in alleviating some of the burden. Japan, one of the ultra-aged societies facing a predicted shortfall of 370,000 caregivers by 2025, has been actively testing robotics solutions to provide emotional support for older adults. In the U.S., ElliQis launching an AI-driven social companion robot designed to keep their users connected and engaged. Voice technology startups such as Ask Marveeand Care Angelhelp connect family caregivers with their loved ones. Similarly, smart speakers such as Amazon Echo have shown positive resultsin reducing isolation and loneliness for older adults living independently. As for something slightly more traditional with a twist, transportation startup GoGoGrandparentprovides on-demand ride hailing services for seniors via a phone call, and provides by-the-minute update texts to their loved ones.
Collectively, these entrepreneurs are leveraging technology to drive innovation for a fast growing demographics of our society. While we are cruising down the digital transformation highway, however, we must be mindful to not leave segments of the society behind. Broader societal impact must take into consideration digital inclusion and financial inclusion efforts.
Our future well-being depends on it.
Listen in to our conversation with John Lloyd IV, CMO of ClearlySo, on our next episode of Shades of Grey, as we talk about impact investing and more.
Join us May 15th for the inaugural FinTech4Lifewhere we explore the future of financial services for the world’s fastest growing and wealthiest customer segment.
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