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European foundations meet on mainstreaming mission-aligned investing

Representatives from 20 European foundations met today in Brussels at the headquarters of the European Foundation Centre. The day's key question was: "How to mainstream mission-aligned investing at European foundations in 10 years?"

Mission-aligned investing enables a foundation to use its capital endowment for a social purpose while still safeguarding the financial health of the organization through a combination of responsible investments and impact investments. While some foundations and regions in Europe are advanced in this practice, in general European foundations lag other institutional asset owners in implementing investment policies that consider environmental, social and governance factors as part of standard investment analysis.

Participants in the workshop—entitled 360-degrees for Mission—discussed concrete steps to accelerate mission-aligned investing in Europe over the next decade. The workshop concluded that real opportunities for collaborative action among foundations exist and can resolve many of the remaining challenges facing foundation investors. A working group of the European Foundation Centre is currently being planned to continue making progress in this area.

360-degrees for Mission was co-hosted by the Mistra Foundation (Sweden), Fondazione Cariplo (Italy), and Fonds 1818 (Netherlands) and organized by onValues and the European Foundation Centre.

Download the meeting report
«360-degrees for Mission Meeting Report»

Agri-investing for the long term

On June 17, 2011, onValues hosted an investor roundtable on the topic of: "Agri-investing for the long term: the investment case for responsible investments in agriculture". The meeting, which took place in Geneva, was co-hosted by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the UN PRI and the UN Global Compact.

Over 60 experts from asset owners, asset managers, investment research and the public sector took part in what was likely the first event of this type dedicated to questions of responsible investment in agriculture and commodities. The discussion focused on issues related to farmland investments, commodity derivatives and listed equities in the agricultural value chain.

"Responsible investment in agriculture is a necessity, not an option" argued one investor. While a healthy diversity of views was expressed during the day, participants clearly articulated a strong economic rationale for considering environmental and social factors in agricultural investments. In this critical sector, participants agreed, investors can take steps to act as a positive and stabilizing force in agricultural markets in view of contributing to global food security.

Download the meeting report
«Agri-investing for the long term»

’360-degrees for Mission’ showcases SRI and impact investment at foundations

onValues has authored a report for the Mistra foundation entitled 360-degrees for Mission: How leading European foundations use their investments to support their mission and the greater good.  The report will allow foundations to learn more about sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) and impact investment, and to take practical steps to implementing these approaches in the management of their capital endowments.

The report highlights eight European foundations that use their investments to advance their mission and still generate strong financial returns.  Detailed case studies on the Church of Sweden, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Dreilinden, Fondation du Luxembourg, Fondazione Cariplo, Fonds 1818, Friends Provident Foundation, and Mistra show both the challenges and the rewards of SRI and impact investing, and provide the reader with direct advice from the personal experience of foundation officers and trustees.

360-degrees for Mission comes at a time of renewed interest in how foundations invest their money.  The report directs readers to the variety of resources that can help foundations establish investment practices that are financially sound and enhance the contribution to their mission.

Download the report
«360-degrees for Mission»

Ivo Knoepfel joins Steering Committee of the Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance

The past ten years have witnessed a significant growth in microfinance and other financial services targeting the needs of the world's poor. A group of leading investors has publicly endorsed the Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance (PIIF) committing to fair treatment and protection of the interests of the ultimate clients - low-income households and small and medium-enterprises. This is particularly important given that poorer clients are often disadvantaged by asymmetries in financial knowledge, power, and influence. The Principles were developed in collaboration with Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima, the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, with the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and in consultation with Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and several key industry players. Ivo Knoepfel, onValues' Managing Director, was invited to become a member of the Steering Committee that will supervise the implementation of the Principles.

View the PIIF here:
«Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance»

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