In the field of investors and funds, the latest trend is perhaps the most interesting. And the reason is that the trend is the shift from investment portfolios around the world to investments in companies and projects, which have a positive environmental and social impact.
The so-called impact investing is increasingly occupying investors around the world and an extremely important element is that in addition to the fact that these investments help our world to become a little better, it turns out that in the end they will probably have better returns!
“In the first quarter of 2020, a record number of inflows was recorded in terms of investments in environmental and social footprint (EPKA)”, points out Kostis Tselenis, pioneer with investment strategies in this part of the world and founder of the non-profit “Hellenic Network” Impact Investing Network – HIIN), whose goal is to attract such investments in Greece through the creation of a suitable environment.
The term EPKA is an attempt to translate into Greek the meaning of impact investing, which, as Mr. Tselenis emphasizes, has absolutely nothing to do with corporate social responsibility actions.
One reason that investments in this category are boosted is the need for investors to reconsider the environmental and social profile of their investments. It is, however, also the fact that the investment acquires a lower risk profile, and therefore better returns. “We already have the first studies that stocks of companies that have a positive environmental and social footprint, move upward faster than the rest or have greater resistance to market corrections,” said the Greek investor, who has extensive experience in this field.
The issue of EPKA was also discussed at the recent Delphi Economic Forum where in the relevant panel, Mr. Tselenis noted that investment experts expect significant development of strategies based on sustainability in the coming months and years. In fact, panelists such as Jacco Minnaar, president of Triodos Investment Management, one of the first and largest European investment companies specializing in sustainable development, noted that he believes that these investments can attract multibillion-dollar to do this, we must first create many more, since at the moment the demand is greater than the supply. And this demand is mainly fueled by the new generations of large families, the millennials, who want to align their investment portfolios with their personal values, as stressed in the same panel by the founder of Good Move Initiatives and also a pioneer in EPKA Mr. Antonis Schwarz .
Sustainable investments and Greece
For the general public, EPCAs may be limited to investments in renewable energy sources, as well as investments in technologies for environmental protection and climate change, such as energy saving technologies, energy efficiency improvements and electricity.
However, as Mr. Tselenis notes on CNN Greece, there are many more categories with special investment interest but also with a significant environmental and social footprint. These categories include investments aimed at conserving biodiversity, an issue that will be of particular concern to the global community in the coming years, investments in technologies for the management and utilization of food and other waste (waste management, upcycling, etc.), restructuring the food chain with investments in sustainable crops, alternative proteins and plant foods in animal husbandry (sustainable food chains), but also investments in companies producing consumer goods such as sustainable cosmetics and clothing (sustainable cosmetics, ethical fashion, etc.).
According to Mr. Tselenis, Greece has many and important opportunities to attract such investments, although in terms of the development of new technologies our country is relatively behind. But especially in areas such as renewable energy sources, agri-food, projects related to the marine ecosystem and its proper utilization, but also sustainable tourism. “Technology is an important factor, but both innovation and ideas count,” says Mr. Tselenis.
The demand for Greece is to create the relevant framework and environment. And this is the goal of HIIN, which, as Mr. Tselenis emphasizes, is a platform that aims to raise awareness and mobilize actions related to sustainable development and the circular economy. “The vision of the network is to create a friendly environment for such investments in Greece, through the promotion of innovative and sustainable investment opportunities in the global investment community, thus contributing substantially to the development of the country,” said the Greek investor, president of HIIN and CEO of the Swiss Impact Office based in Zurich.