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2020 | Book | 1. edition

Contemporary Issues in Sustainable Finance

Creating an Efficient Market through Innovative Policies and Instruments

Editors: Mario La Torre, Helen Chiappini

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Book Series : Palgrave Studies in Impact Finance


About this book

Sustainable investments, although not yet working under a comprehensive regulatory framework, represent a growing, worldwide phenomenon. Such growth reflects the renewed public and private interest in environmental issues such as climate change, poverty and financial inclusion, as well as growing support from conscious investors looking to finance environmental and social initiatives. However, despite the interest that sustainable investments are gaining among governors, investors and practitioners, important challenges remain that must be addressed.

Comprising a collection of research presented at the 2nd Social Impact Investments International Conference, this contributed volume offers a global analysis of the current state of the sustainable finance sector, proposing solutions to challenging obstacles and exploring topics including impact investing, social impact bonds and green banking. Providing real-life case studies from Europe, Latin America and Africa, this book is an insightful and timely read for scholars interested in sustainable finance, social impact investing, development finance and alternative finance.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Enhancing Efficiency in Sustainable Markets
This chapter introduces some current issues featuring sustainable finance through a discussion of the relevant debates related to the financing of social and environmental initiatives.
Mario La Torre, Helen Chiappini
Chapter 2. Financing Sustainable Goals: Economic and Legal Implications
The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) leaves open the question of how best to consider alternative forms of economy, social relations and governance. In this context, finance and economics on one side and corporate law on the other must be indissolubly linked to a greater extent than in the past: the former provides the resources and the latter the legal tools to manage them. Academic discourses around sustainability issues in entrepreneurship, corporate legal models and finance remain fragmented, and each specific discipline analyses these topics from a narrow perspective. However, significant barriers between financial actors and sustainable entrepreneurs exist. Starting from this perspective, this chapter adopts a multidisciplinary approach with the aim of proposing a conceptual framework that assumes the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability.
Raffaele Felicetti, Alessandro Rizzello
Chapter 3. Rethinking Taxation of Impact Investments
This chapter analyzes the critical issues and opportunities of a tax model based on social impact. In this perspective, the impact is taken as a substantial legal criterion. Tax concessions to companies and investments, in other words, are not recognized according to the mere purpose of social impact, but on its concrete measurement. In this perspective, it would be possible to conceive the system of tax expenditures, in favor of social entrepreneurship and impact investing, as a form of social investment. A particular focus is dedicated to the specificity of the Italian reform of social enterprise and impact investments. But the analysis also considers more general theoretical aspects such as the impact with the legal principle of “ability to pay” and the protection of competition.
Alessandro Mazzullo
Chapter 4. Profitable Impact Bonds: Introducing Risk-Sharing Mechanisms for a More Balanced Version of Social Impact Bonds
Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an innovative solution to convey private resources into welfare expenses. The financial scheme has created great interest in the last decade but it still presents numerous downfalls, which impede the growth of a strong market. This chapter aims at introducing some modifications to the scheme to redistribute both exposure and benefits between investors and the other parties involved. The chapter also encourages the choice of Social Providers among corporations capable of combining the creation of social impact with the production of revenue. Thanks to these modifications, SIBs could become an effective tool to raise capital for innovative enterprises and to widen the market of pay-for-success products.
Giulia Proietti
Chapter 5. Social Stock Exchanges: Defining the Research Agenda
Since the 2007/2008 financial crisis, questions have been raised about how financial markets operate and can benefit society (Shiller, Finance and the Good Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013; Zingales, Does Finance Benefit Society? Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015). Around the globe, new investment models able to reflect responsible behavior have been claimed in order to keep financial markets in tune with the development of society.
Given upsurge in social entrepreneurship and impact-driven business models, and recently the EU action plan for financing sustainable growth, there is no shortage of investors and financiers eager to absorb this demand. The problem, as emphasized by the World Economic Forum, lies in matching assets that create positive impact with investors in a manner that is efficient, effective, transparent, and scalable (WEF, Bringing Impact Investing From the Margins to the Mainstream. Available at https://​thegiin.​org/​knowledge/​publication/​bringing-impact-investing-from-the-margins-to-the-mainstream, 2013). This chapter investigates the research agenda to make impact investing part of stock exchanges.
Karen Wendt
Chapter 6. A Macro-Level Analysis of the Economic and Social Impact of Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa
Despite a few decades of research on the topic, the economic and social impact of microfinance remains open to question. While in some cases microfinance has had the desired results, in many others it has not lived up to the expectations of the development community. In addition, macro-level effects of microfinance have not been analyzed thoroughly and there are only a limited number of empirical cross-national studies on the relationship between microfinance and development. Through a quantitative macro-level approach on the topic, our research investigates the role of microfinance in economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Employing a sample of nearly 40 sub-Saharan African countries from 1999 to 2014, we find robust empirical evidence for a positive, albeit relatively weak, overall effect of microfinance on GDP/capita and human capital.
Roberto Pasca di Magliano, Andrea Vaccaro
Chapter 7. Environmental Impact Investments in Europe: Where Are We Headed?
This chapter explores the environmental impact on investment panorama in light of the new European regulatory process on sustainable finance and of worldwide impact on investing practices.
The main results can be summarised as follows. First, the emergent European regulation on sustainable finance seems to be going in the direction of impact investing. Second, green bonds and environmental funds fall within the perimeter of impact investing, while crowdfunding shows similarities with sustainable finance. Third, the European panorama—pioneering in regulation—does not appear equally innovative from the perspective of financial models. Environmental impact investing is experiencing a delay in Europe in terms of innovative financial models such as environmental impact bonds (EIBs). Finally, the study suggests that European governments should consider EIBs within models able to finance environmental strategies.
Giuliana Birindelli, Annarita Trotta, Helen Chiappini, Alessandro Rizzello
Chapter 8. The Increasing Importance of Green Bonds as Instruments of Impact Investing: Towards a New European Standardisation
This chapter analyses the principal characteristics of Green Bonds, a particular financial instrument of Impact Investing that is showing a rapidly growing market and that can offer new possibilities for investors who consider important Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations. The author wants to point out the main critical aspects that characterise Green Bonds, regarding both the lack of clarity about what makes a bond green and the presence of too many ways of assessing the bond greenness. The work notices that an answer to these needs is now coming from the European Institutions, showing how their recent actions—the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) Final Report and the European Commission (EC) Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth (2018)—are filling up the existing gaps, representing important steps towards a new European standardisation.
Maria Cristina Quirici
Chapter 9. Green Banking in Italy: Current and Future Challenges
Several scholars have recently devoted significant effort to deepening our knowledge about the green banking approach and its implications for sustainability. Moreover, a growing number of banks have been going green worldwide, and therefore there is a need to explore green banking practices.
Starting from these considerations, this chapter investigates a number of ways in which Italian banking is going green. To this end, the work aims to (1) conduct a review of the literature on this issue; (2) provide an overview of the main regulations and policies for green banks; and (3) present some of the main initiatives adopted by two major Italian banks.
The study offers useful insights for those concerned with current Italian green banking approaches by adding knowledge to the international debate.
Giuseppina Procopio, Annarita Trotta, Eugenia Strano, Antonia Patrizia Iannuzzi
Chapter 10. Opportunities and Challenges of Impact Investing in Climate-Smart Agriculture in Latin America
Climate-smart agriculture is inherent to impact investing. Altogether, it provides mitigation of the highest appointed risk for agriculture investing—climate change; it brings to light out-of-the-box solutions that go from soil management practices to new sorts of apps and technology with a direct positive and measurable impact on reduced desertification; better soil quality; lower costs; and food security. In this chapter, we address the most commonly mentioned concerns of individual and institutional investors about climate-smart agriculture investing and provide real and up-to-date cases on how these perceived risks are being addressed by businesses in Latin America. The findings show that new business models and changed mindsets resemble concrete opportunities and that a sort of new actors in the field will provide the required seed and start-up capital.
Angélica Rotondaro, Andrea Minardi, Leonie Dissemond
Chapter 11. Sustainable Finance: Trends, Opportunities and Risks
This chapter summarizes some of the main trends, opportunities and risks linked with sustainability and, in turn, with sustainable finance. Specifically, the chapter discusses investor preferences and the recent diffusion of new sustainability business models and regulations.
Mario La Torre, Helen Chiappini
Contemporary Issues in Sustainable Finance
Mario La Torre
Helen Chiappini
Copyright Year
Springer International Publishing
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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