What is this all about?
Have you ever imagined that your savings or your personal investments could support causes that are beneficial to society in general? Solidarity-based finance as we call it in France - is just that. It supports various social or environmental ventures with citizen’s money. Your savings are invested totally or in part in activities like creating jobs for people who have been out of work for some time, housing very low income families, energy-saving devices or business start-ups in developing countries. How does this work? How can you become a solidarity-based saver or investor? Can you expect a return on your savings? You’ll find all the answers on this website.
The double return on investment
When you practice solidarity-based finance, you can expect a financial return. But you are also concerned by the 'social or environmental return' on your investment, like supporting employability, renewable energy, small business in developing countries or housing the destitute.
How savings and solidarity fit together
Here is how it works:
- You invest directly or indirectly (generally through a fund) in activities that have a strong social or environmental content.
- You open a social savings account, usually at your bank. In that case, you share part of your interest payment with a NGO or an association.
The solidarity-based finance family
It is made of two different types of actors who work closely together. The first and foremost type, various associations, cooperatives, investment clubs, real estate trusts and companies do the fieldwork, by investing directly in solidarity projects. The second type (banks, insurance companies and asset managers) promote and/or manage solidarity-based investment vehicles on behalf of the former.
Be noted: Solidarity-based finance and SRI
The two are very often confused. SRI (or socially responsible investing) means investing in stocks or bonds of listed companies selected not only on the basis of their financial performance, but because of their social and environmental concerns. Whereas solidarity-based investing means investing in small or medium-sized outfits that do not intend to be listed on a stock market at any time in their history, but whose main goal is to solve a social/environmental problem.
Video solidarity-based finance
(only in French).