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Welfare society needs social glue that fosters a sense of community

Rami Erkkilä, Senior Specialist, sustainable finance

In 2023, the number of our social finance projects increased by over 40% from the year before. A growing awareness of sustainability matters coupled with increasing stakeholder expectations are pushing up the demand for our sustainable finance.

Our raison d’être and the main duty of our customers is to build up the Finnish welfare state. Our customers are tasked with organising the basic functions of society, such as health and social services, daycare, basic education, care for the elderly, infrastructure, affordable housing and various cultural and sports services. The values of the Nordic welfare state are inherent in the work of our social finance customers, whose investments often also benefit the environment and climate.

We published our first sustainability agenda in October, sharing our goal of increasing the proportion of our social finance to 8% of our long-term customer financing by 2030. More and more, our customers are bringing up themes related to our social and green finance in our interactions, signalling a growing awareness of sustainability. Our customers’ own stakeholders are also interested in these themes, so the push to improve sustainability is coming from many fronts. As a result, a growing number of projects are now meeting the criteria for our sustainable finance.

In 2023, the number of projects accepted into our social finance portfolio increased by over 40% from the year before. We approved 34 projects, the majority of which are welfare projects or housing solutions aimed at the most vulnerable population. It is safe to say that we are well on the way towards our goal.

The responsibility for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services was transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties on 1 January 2023, but municipalities nevertheless continue to play a vital role in promoting good health and wellbeing. Many of our social finance projects are important not only to their users, but also to the vitality of the municipality. Investments that generate activity are a signal to companies that the municipality will stay vital.

For residents, social finance projects signify better services: communal living solutions, healthcare services, modern and healthy learning environments and more opportunities for hobbies, cultural activities and sports. In addition to creating the setting for municipal operations, the project buildings often double as venues for sports, culture and other activities offered by the voluntary sector. The projects cater for people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures, but most of all, they bring people together. This is the social glue that we need to keep the welfare society together in a time of heightened individualism and polarisation.

Rami Erkkilä, Senior Specialist, sustainable finance
Rami Erkkilä is responsible for green and social finance products at MuniFin.

The article was originally published on the 7th of March as a part of MuniFin Social impact report 2023.

MuniFin Social impact report 2023