Embracing change with Positive Impact Finance


Article by Didier Valet

As the global population approaches 8bn, the shift to a more sustainable model of development is essential, and the finance industry should be at the heart of this transition.

The booming global population growth - and its associated needs - are matched by dwindling natural resources and the relentless pace of technological advance. This makes the change to a more inclusive and sustainable economy a necessity; business as usual is not an option.

It is not enough to simply look at facts and figures, performance ratios and stock price increases. There is a search for meaning, - especially  but not exclusively - among younger clients and our staff. Solutions now should be viewed through the prism of their positive impact on society. While taking into account the positives, we must also identify and mitigate the negatives.

Finance can and should be at the heart of this essential shift towards more sustainable development. And Societe Generale is pioneering banking’s response. Since our inception more than 150 years ago, Societe Generale has supported the economy, and always accompanied clients through whatever transition they were facing. Clients today have greater awareness than ever before, but as climate change and the wave of digitisation combine to bring new challenges, their demands are growing exponentially. Helping our clients transition is key for us in the coming years.

Societe Generale is at the origin of the concept of Positive Impact Finance, which calls for a new financing paradigm. Beyond our commitments in the way we conduct our own business, over recent decades we have also developed in-depth social and environmental expertise across our business-to-business offerings, so we can better help clients make the change to tomorrow’s world – and continue to develop as they do so. Our expertise is embedded at every point of the value chain: from research and advisory, to financing and capital markets, to investor solutions.

Beyond meeting the demands of our clients, we believe that integrating positive impact criteria into our solutions will generate long-term outperformance for them. And I know Societe Generale teams are extremely motivated to address these challenges to demonstrate the positive role they play, individually and collectively, in the economy. The UN’s sustainable development goals require between US$5tn and US$7tn a year until 2030, much of it from the private sector. By supporting our clients as they tackle global environmental and social challenges, we can help facilitate a fairer, greener economy - improving the world we live in and the legacy we will leave our children.

Change is needed, and inevitable, but we are prepared to make the most of the new world, and help our clients to embrace it too.