InFocus: Unicef & FFS

Who?

UNICEF believes that all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world. Children’s rights can be simply defined as the best possible investment for our future; to promote and strengthen these rights is crucial to generate sustainable economic and social development processes.

UNICEF Italy is convinced that investors, through responsible and sustainable investment strategies, can generate long-term value for our societies while having a positive impact on children’s lives.

Arianna De Leo is Head of Strategic Philanthropy at UNICEF Italy and here she tells us more about the role of investors in promoting and safeguarding child welfare.

When?

Last year, UNICEF Italy started to work in partnership with financial institutions to develop  sustainable and responsible financial tools, and then in December 2016, it became a member of the Italian SIF, Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile (FFS).

Why?

UNICEF Italy has recently started working in an innovative way with financial institutions, such as banks, private equity and investors, to promote new models of financing to both develop and ensure the respect of children’s rights.

We aim to contribute to shaping the responsible investment market, and to be able to do this, we needed to partner with the relevant players in the finance sector.

As a member of FFS, we can benefit from the professional expertise and advice, a large network of various players and a place to share information and best practices. Moreover, FFS organizes many interesting events, such as the SRI Week, to meet and meaningfully connect with investors, fund managers and asset owners.

What?

UNICEF Italy aims to promote responsible financial products and engage with investors as active partners in achieving our goals. FFS represents a unique platform for connecting with the investors’ community. It’s where we can share our strategy and best practices and develop innovative financial tools, in partnership with the relevant financial institutions.

A first opportunity to do this was the SRI breakfast organized on the 28th of March by UNICEF and FFS, Investing in children to ensure a social return, where we will talk about our innovative finance strategy and present the ‘Children’s Rights Leaders Index’ developed by our partner ECPI with the technical support of UNICEF.

There is a strong link between the severe deprivation that some children are facing (such as malnutrition or the exclusion from a basic education system) and the reduction of productivity of a country, the low wages and a delay in technological development. With the ‘Children’s Rights Leaders Index’, financial intermediaries could have a significant role in addressing these issues, alongside financial returns, as investments decisions are led both by financial and by social impact, sustainability and ESG performance criteria.

During the coming months, further initiatives will be developed with FFS, as we consider this partnership as a strategic alliance to connect to a vast platform of players and to develop the positive role that UNICEF could play in the responsible and sustainable finance sector.

 

SIF

The Italian Sustainable Investment Forum (Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile or FFS) was founded in 2001 to promote the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in the policies and processes adopted by Italian investors.

Throughout the years, FFS has grown to about 60 Members, with six new Members joining in the first months of 2017.

In November 2016, FFS promoted the fifth edition of the SRI Week, the main initiative in Italy on sustainable finance. The programme of the fifth edition included ten events taking place in Milan and Rome and involved high-profile partners, as well as 40 sponsors and promoters.

During the SRI Week, FFS presented three publications it has produced during 2016: the first guidelines in Italy on the integration of ESG aspects into the activities of foundations, the second edition of the study on sustainable investments of the leading pension plans and guidelines on sustainable finance and climate change.

On the 28th of March, FFS and UNICEF jointly organised an SRI Breakfast, an event focused on the contribution of sustainable finance to children rights promotion. Four more SRI Breakfasts are planned for 2017.

Since 2013, FFS has also been running Investiresponsabilmente.it, a website dedicated to retail investors and financial advisors.

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