Last week we participated as a language partner in the Funding & Capital Markets Forum, an international information and networking event promoted and organized by ABI, the Italian Banking Association. The initiative involved the financial community and companies in the comparison and exchange of ideas, experiences and innovative strategies, exploring and sharing trends that drive finance and outlining the actions that must be taken to bring about positive change.
The European market, changes in legislation and in the industry, and above all sustainability: These were the topics discussed at the Forum last week.
With constant attention to German fiscal policy and developments in the rivalry between the US and China, Europe is quickly moving toward a profound change: “In Europe, change starts from the supermarket. A new system is being created: The next 5 years will mark the turning point in which finance plays a central role and is ready to play its part” (Luca Bertalot, EMF - ECBC). In this context of transformation and renewal, all the conditions are in place for investments to restart, partly thanks to confidence in the continuity of the European Central Bank (ECB) led by Christine Lagarde.
Sustainable finance is a significant, trending topic that is perfectly in line with the evolving climate of the European market. Today it is impossible to talk about finance without talking about sustainability, which permeates an innovative financial and banking sector attentive to social and environmental issues and to the needs of new informed consumers: “The market and the world are yearning for sustainability” (Stefano Del Punta, Intesa Sanpaolo).
“Although it has not been an easy journey, the issue of sustainability is now widely shared” (Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Univerde Foundation), including by the financial sector which, aware of the risks that humanity faces, is starting to address this issue: “Green bonds have grown a lot since the first issuance and today they are a 350 billion euro market, with Europe accounting for 150 billion” (Davide Ferrazzi, ABI). “The green bond market has been transformed from unknown to mainstream” and this “is synonymous with awareness of the climate emergency and is a great opportunity for sustainable finance” (Berit Lindholdt-Lauridsen, ICMA).
The results are highly satisfactory, considering that “environmental protection is not just a market issue and it requires deep conviction to get involved in this field” (Giorgio Erasmi, UBI Banca). Although it brings significant benefits and receives positive feedback from increasingly aware and attentive investors, the environmental protection market and the issuance of green bonds requires a significant economic and structural commitment, which often discourages SMEs. “Today, large companies are leading the drive toward sustainability, while initiatives by SMEs are still relatively insignificant” (Fabio Massoli, CDP). Indeed, SMEs must be supported in this process of evolution: “We must penalize everything that has a very damaging impact on the climate, through initiatives such as a carbon tax, and reward positive measures with incentives, such as eco-bonuses. We must find something that favours everything that is sustainable” (Scanio).
Europe is moving in this direction due to new regulations to precisely define “sustainable investment” in order to facilitate its demand and use. Meanwhile, in Italy “green bond issuance has tripled” (Fabbrizi). “Our country has a wealth of healthy, genuine and capable entrepreneurship and, if it can be supported by financial leverage, I am not saying that we will solve the climate problem, but we will certainly reduce the damage” (Scanio).
In terms of the general situation, there is a strong awareness and consequent willingness to “feel positively towards the planet, even if it means spending more” (Panichi). “The question we must ask ourselves is: Are we going at the right speed to achieve the goals that we set ourselves?” (Panichi).
It is certainly time to act and “we are all required to play our part” (Panichi) because “we are all responsible for avoiding the extinction of humankind” and the financial sector in particular has the duty to support and “lend a hand to those who want to do something for this planet” (Scanio).
Internationality and sustainability are therefore the two financial keywords of the modern day, as well as the reason why Way2Global is the ideal partner for the financial sector: Internationalization is our core business and sustainability is the principle behind our business model.