October 2022

Whether you believe Mark Cuban can achieve his lofty ambition of providing access to safe and affordable medicines to everyone or not, you have to applaud his efforts. Just imagine the impact he’s already had on the lives of people who used to pay over $2,500 for Imatinib, a leukemia medication, that they can now buy for just $14,40 through his latest venture Cost Plus Drugs which launched in January of this year.

You may only know Mark Cuban from his role on Shark Tank or as the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks team but he’s been working on solving this issue from about 2017 when conversations about getting rid of the affordable care act gained momentum. With no alternative solution likely, Mark funded numerous studies which led to Cost Plus Drugs being born, offering transparent “cost plus 15%” affordable medicine. Naysayers point out the numerous ways in which this won’t solve all problems relating to the issue but there’s no one silver bullet and I’m certainly glad someone’s taking significant strides forward in making it happen.

Cost Plus Drugs as well as a multitude of others, prove that ESG is not at odds with commercial outcomes. It may often be met with strong scepticism but since ESG has entered the mainstream, it has been proven that even if ESG is not the core business, strong ESG performance creates a variety of competitive advantages and, multiple studies prove ESG and corporate performance are intrinsically linked. The confluence of increasing government regulation, consumer pressure, tight labour markets, environmentally-driven volatility of supply chains and material costs, and shifting employee preferences are driving companies and their investors to focus on ESG. As stakeholder demand for improved sustainability performance continues to rise, all business leaders need to consider their approach to integrating ESG into their business. This effort should encompass corporate governance, risk management, reporting and an integration into strategy to be effective but given limited resources and time, companies will have to focus on the most important ESG issues with the greatest impact on their business and stakeholders. And most importantly, it should be true. An authentic commitment and not just a compliance exercise or marketing strategy! 

The future will be created by companies that weave ESG into the fabric of their organisation, not those merely checking the box, and there are a myriad of ways in which this can be done even if it’s not the core business. Blisce is a growth stage venture investment firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build mission-driven global consumer technology companies. Their Reopening Report shows how the changes in consumer and employee behaviour is driving opportunities in how we attract customers, acquire and retain talent, and deliver services in healthcare, education and finance.

We’d love to hear how you’re using ESG as a competitive advantage and what you’re seeing others do in the market. Or, if you’d like to discuss how you can incorporate a robust corporate governance framework that effectively considers environmental and social issues for long-term value creation, DM me.

Throughout the month we’ll show case some extraordinary leaders in this space and I hope to share the story of your business too!

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