Is the Pursuit of Happiness high on the WEF Agenda?

Is the Pursuit of Happiness high on the World Economic Forum Agenda in Davos? I am sitting in a Swiss chalet in Davos, waiting for the most powerful companies leaders to come. I am going through the WEF Agenda, searching for Happiness. It looks like a specific section is not there. Strange, The Economist proposed Happiness and its pursue as a topic for 2018.

One year after the Happy CFO Manifesto that proposes and shares ‘How Finance can Help Society’, and a lot of work in sharing with my LinkedIn community the need to put Happiness of Human Kind at the center of the companies’ agenda, I am checking how much road is still ahead of us to make the corporate strategy change. WEF is a good temperature test. If Happiness is out of the WEF Agenda seems that a lot still remain to do, however three important events recently happened and makes all of us very positive. And happy, of course.

Event number one is a book just published by Bertrand Badré: “Can Finance save the World?” In the book forewords, Emmanuel Macron makes it clear that “Hasty and definitive judgments about finance are frequently heard. For some, finance is the enemy of the people, dispossessing them of their sovereignty. For others, finance is a tangible expression of human greed; it is merely an instrument of domination, making it possible to create value without effort and to accumulate wealth without producing. For still others, finance has become a religion before which our societies should prostrate themselves. These caricatures miss the mark. They do not recognize that finance encompasses diverse realities. They do not make it possible to understand that finance is only a means to serve human ends. We must use finance— not serve it. “ Using Finance, he continues the world can find a way to solve some of the great challenges of the environment, the need and impact of innovation and the need to development of poorer people. Badré proposes a solution in the book: the key is private public cooperation to make investments available to solve those world challenges. He writes: ‘Even if they still have strides to make in their cultural adaptation, development banks have a major role to play to promote a P4C cooperative approach and to help dispel suspicions that the public and private sectors harbor about each other. From my perspective, they must act like true orchestral conductors of global development finance. As I’ve said before, the development of the private sector and the cooperation with these players must become a central point of MDBs’ operational model, with sincere commitment beyond the financing and mobilization of capital’. Already in 1999 When Kofi Annan spoke of a global compact, he called on businesses, both on their own and together, to “embrace, support and enact a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, and environmental practices” and to “use these universal values as the cement binding together your global corporations, since they are values people all over the world will recognize as their own.” Happiness was not explicitly mentioned in that speech, though is universally acknowledged that the pursuit of Happiness belongs to the unalienable Human rights. Finance has the means to make it happen.

The second event, on January 17, Alberto Gallo’s presentation: “The Pursuit of Happiness – how the American dream turned into greed and inequality”. He describes well how the American dream of financial wealth and independence is broken and the reasons why today’s young generation is destined to be poorer than their parents. He challenges the fact that we have $20tn in central bank balance sheets, but double-digit unemployment in many European countries. He is concerned that stocks are beating decade highs, yet small businesses struggle for financing. He then asks: ‘Are free-market capitalism and our debt-based financial system sustainable?’ The presentation is rich of proposals and ideas for rebalancing the way Economy is run, how technology can be used to avoid excessive impact for low value generating workers and how to avoid that society turns into populism. He proposes Social and pensions reforms, change of current monetary policies by Central Banks and means to Fight inequality, as the Universal Basic income. Another example of how Finance when used for the right purpose can help Society.

The third event is Larry Fink’s letter to 1000 CEO of companies where Black Rock is among shareholders. Fink makes it clear: “The time has come for a new model of shareholder engagement – one that strengthens and deepens communication between shareholders and the companies that they own. I have written before that companies have been too focused on quarterly results; similarly, shareholder engagement has been too focused on annual meetings and proxy votes. If engagement is to be meaningful and productive – if we collectively are going to focus on benefitting shareholders instead of wasting time and money in proxy fights – then engagement needs to be a year-round conversation about improving long-term value.” He continues: “Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change? Are we providing the retraining and opportunities that our employees and our business will need to adjust to an increasingly automated world? Are we using behavioral finance and other tools to prepare workers for retirement, so that they invest in a way that that will help them achieve their goals?” I am happy. Three important signals are sustaining the evolution of Finance towards a society adding value function. The time is ticking and as company executives, CFOs have to do their part and include high in the agenda a coherent ESG strategy or even better a Happiness strategy. As very nicely mentioned by Gallo referring John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1689
: “The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty. The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action.”

At WEF Happiness is not on the Agenda, but Badré, Gallo and Fink makes us believe that Finance experts are dreaming to include it.



Institutional investors boost a company’s environmental and social performance (E&S)

Institutional investors boost a company’s environmental and social performance (E&S) - a new study by Bocconi's Hannes Wagner and colleagues finds - but only if they are European. “Interestingly”, Prof. Wagner says, “we find that institutional investors don’t influence the E&S performance by buying shares of good companies and selling those of bad ones, but by engaging with firms they already own".

Informazioni Non Finanziarie

L’obiettivo dell’Unione Europea con la Direttiva 2014/95/Ue è quello di spingere le aziende a integrare la sostenibilità nel business.

Il recepimento in Italia delle nuove regole (con il D. Lgs. N.254/2016, in vigore da gennaio 2017) impone alle grandi aziende di depositare - dal prossimo anno - una dichiarazione di carattere non finanziario, per spiegare l'impegno nella tutela dell’ambiente, nella corretta gestione del personale, nella garanzia del rispetto dei diritti umani e nella lotta alla corruzione. Il documento deve essere redatto sotto la responsabilità del CdA ed è soggetto a revisione come il bilancio finanziario. 

Con il D.Lgs. 254/2016 si passa dalla responsabilità sociale d’impresa adottata su base volontaria a una rendicontazione obbligatoria per società quotate, banche, imprese di assicurazione che hanno almeno 500 dipendenti e almeno uno dei due requisiti seguenti alla chiusura del bilancio

  • Il superamento dei 20 milioni di euro di stato patrimoniale
  • e/o il superamento dei 40 milioni di euro nel totale dei ricavi netti delle vendite e delle prestazioni. 

Le società alle quali spetta quest’obbligo sono circa 300, con una sanzione per l’inadempimento che va da 20 mila a 100 mila euro

Le altre aziende, di dimensioni più piccole, possono redigere dichiarazioni volontarie di carattere non finanziario «conformi» alle disposizioni del D.Lgs. 254/2016.

Gli investitori sono sempre più interessati alle aziende con un elevato tasso di sostenibilità e sarà sempre più importante e necessario che la sostenibilità entri a far parte delle scelte strategiche di un’azienda

Il decreto di recepimento impone anche di inserire informazioni sulle misure adottate per prevenire le violazioni dei diritti umani, dato non sempre facilmente reperibile, in quanto richiede una conoscenza approfondita della filiera e della condotta dei fornitori, sia nazionali che esteri.

L’introduzione del principio “comply or explain” permette una maggiore flessibilità all'impresa per l'adeguamento del proprio sistema di governo societario alle nuove regole.

Nelle imprese italiane si evidenzia come ci sia un certo di ritardo rispetto gli altri paesi sui principi di sostenibilità e che le aziende dell’industria alimentare e dell’energia adottino con più frequenza il bilancio di sostenibilità e il bilancio integrato a differenza di quelle della moda e del settore assicurativo che diffondono meno informazioni sulle strategie di corporate social responsibility adottate. 

Gli effetti operativi delle nuove norme e la corretta applicazione dei nuovi principi saranno approfonditi nell'ambito dell’evento Paradigma “Le informazioni non finanziarie: reporting sociale e sviluppo sostenibile” che si terrà il 27 giugno 2017 a Milano con il qualificato contributo di esperti di corporate reporting e di responsabilità sociale.


Scopri le Pmi di Piazza Affari che affrontano le sfide della sostenibilità

La sostenibilità è sempre più nel radar delle società di Piazza Affari, anche di quelle di minori dimensioni. E’ quanto emerge dall’indagine annuale del Sole 24 ORE-Plus24, in collaborazione con l’ufficio studi e analisi: è stato chiesto a oltre 200 aziende quotate di compilare un completo questionario sulle iniziative intraprese in ambito ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). Qui nella sezione Risparmio trovate tutte le notizie.

Crescita Sostenibile

On The European Union and Sustainable Finance

Published on November 20, 2018

Cary Krosinsky Lecturer, Yale and Brown University 


An “Action Plan” of sorts is starting to emerge from the EU on Sustainable Finance

However, sadly, one must place quotes around the phrase “action plan” as the work underway appears to make this anything but, but there are ways forward that could change this.

While we are mostly in the “it’s all good” camp these days on just about anything related to Responsible, Sustainable or Impact Investing (given how little we have actually solved so far), a plan that simply rehashes work underway runs the risk of being just one more book on a shelf when a plan that literally generates more positive action is what’s needed. 

Finanza sostenibile. Investimenti etici con regole europee, c'è anche l'Italia

«Nella mia esperienza a livello di Unione europea – sottolinea Masoni – è la prima volta che vedo un coinvolgimento così ampio: il supporto al nostro lavoro in termini di segreteria e funzionari coinvolti è fortissimo da parte sia della DG Fisma (la Direzione Generale della Commissione Ue su finanza e mercati dei capitali, ndr), sia di molte altre DG: clima, ambiente, ricerca, mercato interno, energia, trasporti». Anche il clima di lavoro fra i membri del Teg è molto positivo. «C’è un’elevata consapevolezza – afferma Latini – dell’importanza delle attività in corso. Ciò è di ulteriore stimolo ad assicurare standard e risultati il più elevati e robusti possibili».Al sotto-gruppo sulla rendicontazione collabora invece Sara Lovisolo, Sustainability manager del London Stock Exchange Group (di cui fa parte Borsa Italiana): «L’obiettivo ultimo di tutti i gruppi di lavoro – dice – è che si produca un’accelerazione, grazie al coinvolgimento del settore privato, nel raggiungimento degli obiettivi dell’Accordo di Parigi, magari andando anche oltre. In questo senso il recente rapporto sul climate change di Ipcc (il Gruppo intergovernativo sul Cambiamento climatico, attivo in ambito Onu, ndr) è stato un campanello d’allarme anche per noi. 

Economia civile, oltre la speculazione

IMPACT evaluation


"As institutional investors, we have a duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries. In this fiduciary role, we believe that environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios (to varying degrees across companies, sectors, regions, asset classes and through time).

We also recognise that applying these Principles may better align investors with broader objectives of society. 

ESG Investing

ESG Investing is a term that is often used synonymously with sustainable investing, socially responsible investing, mission-related investing, or screening.  At MSCI ESG Research we define it as the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors alongside financial factors in the investment decision-making process. 

oekom research

oekom research AG is one of the world's leading rating agencies in the area of sustainable investment. Our research insights provide you with a competitive edge, allowing you to blend sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) with a high rate of return. As the experienced partner of numerous institutional investors and financial service providers, we develop tailor-made services and help realize investment strategies in a rapidly growing sector.

Our sustainability research covers major issuers of shares and bonds (companies, countries and supranational institutions). When assessing securities, we attach great importance to high standards in quality, independence and transparency.

Total Social Impact


For decades, most companies have oriented their strategies toward maximizing total shareholder return (TSR). This focus, the thinking has been, creates high-performing companies that produce the goods and services society needs and that power economic growth around the world. According to this view, explicit efforts to address societal challenges, including those created by corporate activity, are best left to government and NGOs.

Finanza Sostenibile

Secondo i più recenti dati della Global sustainable investment alliance (Gsia), gli investimenti sostenibili nel mondo nel 2016 erano a quota 22.890 miliardi di dollari

«Il motore green in Italia? Enti religiosi e fondi pensione»
dollari, con un incremento del 25% rispetto al 2014. La ricerca Gsia viene realizzata ogni due anni e si riferisce ai patrimoni gestiti secondo i criteri Esg (ambiente, sociale, governance). Nel report viene segnalato inoltre che in Europa gli investimenti sostenibili hanno registrato una crescita del 12%, raggiungendo i 12 trilioni di dollari. Questo fiume di denaro è alla ricerca di aziende quotate e gestite secondo criteri di sostenibilità. In tale ambito è da ricordare che l’anno prossimo le società quotate con oltre 500 dipendenti dovranno inserire in un documento allegato ai bilanci le non financial information (su temi etici, ambientali e sociali), come previsto dalla normativa che ha recepito la direttiva Ue in merito.

New leadership for Sustainability


Sustainability is one of those ubiquitous words, which can also be very slippery, as different people understand the word differently.

At a planetary level, sustainability is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Brundtland - 1987); and how 9-10 billion people can live reasonably well within the constraints of one planet by mid-century (WBCSD 2010).