The cross : What does Phitrust do?
Olive of War: Phitrust Partenaires is a social impact investment company, which supports nearly 35 social entrepreneurs in their development phase in France, Europe and around the world. Our funding can go both to companies with the approval – French – of social utility solidarity enterprise (ESUS) and to traditional companies that work for social inclusion in all areas (housing, health, integration …), aimed at disadvantaged people, people with psychological difficulties, or migrants.
What is the interest of social impact finance?
O. of G.: Historically, only a few mutual banking groups financed this type of business. With the emergence of impact investors, access to finance has been broadened and facilitated. Regarding Phitrust, we specifically targeted the area of inclusion because we met social entrepreneurs who could not find funding.
What are its prospects for development on a European scale?
O. of G.: Let us first recall that Europe has played a role since 2012, by launching the European definition of a social enterprise, accompanied by a legal framework and funding, which have since been used in all Member States. More recently, the “Invest EU” plan has just been launched to finance companies in Europe, a significant part of which is intended for social enterprises.
Did the French presidency of the European Union, until June 30, support this subject of social impact finance?
O. of G.: Paris has indeed “sown seeds” in this area during its presidency of the EU. France has recognized expertise in what are known as 90-10 funds, created by the Fabius law on employee savings in 2003: 90% are invested in traditional stocks and bonds, and 10% in social enterprises and united. A working group led by FAIR has approached the EU to extend this system to the European level, because it is of great interest to other Member States and it is a good way to support social impact finance. In addition, France now requires, in life insurance contracts, to offer units of account with an environmental part and a solidarity part. We are also trying to export this know-how to Brussels.
What are the other acceleration levers, particularly in France?
O. of G.: We should reintroduce systems of tax advantages for investors who choose projects with a strong social impact. The second subject, more complex, it is precisely to make known the device of the contracts of life insurance with a part in interdependent units of account. We hope that this will accelerate to have more investors. There is a communication and educational challenge with investors to promote to them the advantages of social and solidarity investments which combine a social impact, lower financial risks than in a traditional company and at the same time a return.
How can we best meet the needs of social entrepreneurs?
O. of G.: In France, beyond the financing component, the effort must above all focus on supporting social entrepreneurs. This is one of our areas of intervention, in order to help them find the right economic model and thus sustain their existence.
FAIR, promoter of solidarity finance
FAIR. Born in 2021 from the merger between Finansol, a historic player in solidarity finance, and iiLab, an innovation platform, the association’s mission, among other things, is to encourage the creation and distribution of savings products. solidarity with a strong social impact. It brings together nearly 130 social enterprises, associations and cooperatives, financial establishments engaged in an impact research process.
The Finansol label. FAIR manages the Finansol label attesting to the solidarity nature of a financial product. It is mainly based on criteria of solidarity and transparency. Savers thus have the assurance that their money actually contributes to the financing of activities that generate social and/or environmental utility. This label is awarded and checked annually by a committee of independent experts. Over 180 savings products carry the Finansol label.
The difference with SRI. Solidarity finance should not be confused with Socially Responsible Investment (SRI). SRI makes it possible to invest in listed companies, chosen according to their financial performance, but also environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Solidarity finance is based on a higher degree of commitment: the activities financed are chosen according to their social utility and their capacity to produce a measurable social impact. They are not conducted by listed companies.