Rich Asian Families Are Pouring Millions Into Impact Investing
By K Oanh Ha
Veronica Chou, the 36-year-old heiress to the Chou family fortune that helped build the Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger brands, says there’s more to life than pursuing the latest styles in the fashion world. So Chou, who grew up working in her billionaire family’s factories and later ran a business that helped introduce global fashion brands including Ed Hardy and Madonna’s Material Girl to China, has started her own line of sustainable clothing, Everybody & Everyone. Chou says she became interested in sustainable business after seeing firsthand China’s challenge with pollution and after the birth of her children. She now steers her family’s investments into technologies that combat climate change.
Chou has become an investor in I(x) Investments, a firm co-founded by Warren Buffett’s grandson, Howard W. Buffett. Pursuing a belief that so-called impact investors can profitably use their private capital to do societal good, I(x) has drawn some of the world’s wealthiest families to invest together to address climate and sustainability issues.
“A lot of impact investment is driven by younger generations who want to live more sustainably,” says Chou, who was introduced to I(x) by a member of another wealthy clan on the company’s board. “Some families are still learning the ropes—they’re starting from zero. We all feel these deals we’re involved in are groundbreaking and can potentially change the way we live.”