23A – Positive Impact Finance: the Power of Money to Boost the Responsible Economy
© Maxime Dufour Photographies
“What is the key success behind the six trillion Black Rock company of Larry Fink?” asked Leor Rotchild, executive director of CBSR Canada. Is it about finance, marketing or management? Rotchild reveals that focusing on the purpose of business’s actions is necessary. In other words: you have to explicit the value of your work or you won’t last.
How can the financial industry really become a leader in the area of impact investing? Banks have to show that this is profitable. When times are tough, economic actors want to make sure they are investing properly, and to do so, they will invest in the leaders thinking long term. One of them is Raoult Gufflet, general director of Mauritius Commercial Bank, which advocates that there is room for finance to do good. As there are 1.2 million inhabitants in Mauritius and MCB adds up 1 million bank accounts in the territory, he takes responsibility to “build a better Mauritius” by encouraging clients to adopt its positive impact philosophy. In concrete terms, MCB prioritizes the well being of individuals and collectives (through education, gender equality, well being of workers, etc.), a local economy and a protection of the environment. Their introduction of a new debit card with recycling materials illustrates this engagement.
Assuming that the world has come to its limits, pushes the financial industry to accelerate the field of sustainability investment as much as possible and come up with very radical changes. According to Patrick Odier from Lombard Odier, financial industry and mostly banks must act as asset educators, by making sure investors drive capital into the right direction: “To invest efficiently, you have to invest correctly, and that is not an easy thing to do.” In order to invest correctly, investors actions must align with the Environmental, social and corporate governance issues (ESGs) such as climate change, sustainability, human welfare, employee compensation... These criteria help measure the sustainability of an investment or business action. Patrick Odier is convinced that success is guaranteed if investors incorporate these issues into their investment decision-making and ownership practices.
There is a popular belief that all bank managers care about is numbers. It might have been true for a day but with the urgency of the situation, the finance world can no longer act as if success is only about profit. This new era of impact investment has to be considered as a giant opportunity to transform the financial world.
This is a win-win situation : banks give back trust to consumers and investors by adopting a young, green and virtuous business as well as encouraging new solutions.