Better Returns Are Consistent With Doing Good

Making a benchmark-beating return isn’t at odds with environmental, social and corporate governance goals.

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Venture capitalists can outperform benchmarks by focusing on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and impact investing. That’s according to this week’s guest on Masters in Business, Sarah Cone, founder of New York-based venture-capital firm Social Impact Capital.

Her limited partners are not -- for the most part -- typical ESG investors; most are not interested in the ESG’s broader themes. However, her partners have come to accept Cone’s thesis that social impact is becoming a competitive advantage. She seeks a return on investment while selecting for entrepreneurs who are trying to have a positive impact beyond their bottom line. Her philosophy is that success can do more to move the needle of change in our daily lives than almost any other force, including government and politics.

We discussed her early days working in firms such as Google and Amazon, and how she was mentored at eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s venture investment firm.

Her favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunesOvercastSpotifyGoogleBloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Next week, we speak with Bruce Van Saun, chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group Inc., a bank that among other things funds most of the iPhone purchases or leases to consumers.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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