Essilor vision foundation eye screening in Hue, Vietnam. March, 16, 2018. (Photo by Claire Eggers ©2018)

Joining a mission

I joined Standard Chartered Bank as a summer intern at just 18. When I became a member of as the graduate, I settled into the fast-paced world of capital markets sales. Four years in, I made a leap to pursue a mission-driven career within Sustainable Finance, where We now lead a team that focuses on new product innovation. I actually have been lucky enough to be involved in the Bank’s sustainability work for the past 8 years, notably its landmark contribution in order to preventable blindness, Seeing is Believing . With my inspirational friend and ex-colleague David Fein as Chair, surrounded simply by an amazing team, between 2003 to 2020, my colleagues raised over US$104 million to prevent and cure loss of sight for 250 million people across our footprint.

A problem in plain sight

Investing in eye health is one of the most effective and proven solutions with regard to unlocking human potential. Over 1 billion people live with poor vision that could be corrected today. Poor vision is linked to lower educational attainment, lower general health and wellbeing, higher numbers of road traffic accidents, and decrease productivity. These can all be fixed by something as simple as a pair of glasses, and this can really unlock people’s future potential.

The case regarding support intended for eye health is clear. It is also clear that philanthropy alone cannot solve the need. That is why my Standard Chartered will be dedicating time to developing products that not only fund solutions to eye wellness, and other global issues, but provide financial returns in order to investors.

A new approach

Off the back of Seeing is Believing and the incredible work of the The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust , the Vision Catalyst Fund (VCF) was established. Regular Chartered is usually a founding partner alongside other leading actors including EssilorLuxottica.  

The Eyesight Catalyst Fund’s aim is to raise millions of dollars of new money to provide permanent access in order to eye health for all, bringing together the particular private sector, governments, NGOs and non-eye health actors to achieve scale. We will use finance differently, raising brand new resources through co-investment plus innovative monetary tools.  

Social Impact Guarantee 

The first example associated with this innovation at work is the Vision Catalyst Fund’s partnership with Tri-Sector Associates, the particular London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene plus Santen Pharmaceuticals to develop a new economic product – an vision health Social Impact Guarantee to raise $25 million to get eye wellness programmes within Asia and Africa.  

A Sociable Impact Assurance operates like insurance. Donors pay premiums to a Guarantor who backs investment should the outcomes of the programme not be met. We will launch multiple Social Effect Guarantees, pooling the rates to fund additional programmes.

The particular pilot will focus on the school-based eye health programme in Vietnam, with Santen like a founding guarantor. As a Trustee, I bring Standard Chartered’s technical expertise to the particular project.

Be part of the movement

I think it is important to say, social finance is a means to an end, with the goal being to bring vision to more than 1 billion dollars people within a generation. The Social Impact Guarantee and other similar products only have value if they can improve the lives of as many people as possible through access to eyesight care.  

The ambition of the particular VCF is definitely also to provide another proof point for the role of social finance in solving the world’s biggest problems. This means being dedicated to learning, not as an end itself but in order to give impetus to behaviour change in the entire durability ecosystem.

The challenge of achieving universal attention health calls for wide-ranging experience and perspectives. This includes non-traditional participants. If you think you could become part of this, we welcome your collaboration.

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