What is social impact finance about ?

Have you ever imagined that your savings or your personal investments could support causes that are beneficial to society ? Social impact finance, and more specifically solidarity-based finance as we call it in France - is just that.

Have you ever imagined that your savings or your personal investments could support causes that are beneficial to society ? Social impact finance, and more specifically solidarity-based finance as we call it in France - is just that.

It supports various social or environmental ventures with citizen’s savings. Your savings are invested partially or totally in activities like job creation for people who have been out of work for some time, housing very low income families, energy-saving devices or business start-ups in developing countries. How does this work? How can you become a social saver or investor? Can you expect a return on your savings? You’ll find all the answers on this website.

 

The double return on investment

When you practice social finance, you can expect a financial return. But you are also concerned by the 'social or environmental return' on your investment, like supporting employability, renewable energy, small business in developing countries or social housing. 

 

How savings and solidarity fit together

Logo label Finansol - Finance solidaire

Here is how it works:

  • You invest directly or indirectly (generally through a fund) in activities that have a strong social or environmental impact.
  • You open a social savings account, usually at your bank. In that case, you share part of your interest payment with a NGO or an association.

 

Zoom on the social finance family

It is made of two different types of stakeholders who work closely together. The first type (associations, cooperatives, investment clubs, real estate trusts and companies) do the fieldwork by investing directly in social projects. The second type (banks, insurance companies and asset managers) promote and/or manage social investment vehicles on behalf of the former.

Be noted: Social finance and SRI

The two are very often confused.
SRI (or socially responsible investing) means investing in stocks or bonds of listed companies selected not only on the basis of their financial performance, but because of their social and environmental concerns. Whereas social investment means investing in small or medium-sized outfits that do not intend to be listed on a stock market at any time of their existence but whose main goal is to solve a social/environmental problem.