Is sustainability sustainable? It is not a pun but a real question that finance and every economic sector need to ask themselves, especially in a time when the health crisis has undermined the ‘magnificent and progressive fate’ of a recovering economy. The great 2008 recession had finally become a distant memory and the great challenge of the future was imagining, designing and building durable growth, and at the same time being friendly to the planet and its inhabitants. An idea that has been summed up in an acronym: ESG. Eight months after the pandemic outbreak, can Environment, Social needs and Governance of the economy still progress side by side? Is sustainability to be sacrificed on the altar of economic growth, or is it – more than ever – paramount for growth?
To answer this question, several initiatives have delved into five dimensions of the pandemic impacting the use of sustainable finance in corporate and financial institutions. The events are part of the teaching project of EMF - Executive Master in Finance, supervised by Andrea Beltratti, EMF Academic Director, e Alessia Bezzecchi, EMF Program Director.
Corporations have been consistently increasing the use of new technologies to ease interactions between companies and banks. The 2020 global pandemic has multiplied and accelerated this trend. Which are the most relevant technologies to take into consideration? And, above all, which platforms can really help banks improve their offering and companies jumpstart productivity in the use of corporate finance?
2 - EMF on-site visit: Borghi, finance for real estate projects
Covid-19 has shown that real estate projects need to be forward-thinking to resist …, including crises. Architects and their imagination pose new challenges to engineers and builders all the time. Just like global economy poses new challenges to managers. Which kind of challenges are we talking about? Going where everybody goes but seeing what nobody else is able to see, that is to say knowing where to go and stubbornly pursuing your goal, but at the same time managing unavoidable critical issues in smart and flexible ways. And using finance as a strategic management tool, not only as a means of control.
Is the pandemic only causing crises, or is it generating opportunities as well? According to Sara Gay, UniCredit’s Head of Learning and Executive Development, the second is true. Banks and corporations in general need to anticipate change in customer relations, in training and organization of work, so as to create increasingly leaner and more efficient organizations.
4- EMF Entrepreneur Series: Carlo Cracco, the sustainability of circular economy
How can we help the economy become sustainable? Taking one step at a time, following circular paths that allow for seamless incremental growth of the quality, along with the quantity, of goods and services produced. This has been Chef Carlo Cracco’s answer, with his distinctive practical style, while participating in an EMF Entrepreneur Series meeting. How he has become an entrepreneur, and the role of sustainable economy and finance in agribusiness have been the focus of the event (this time taking place in two different locations during the same day), even during its final informal moments.
5- EMF MIND Forum: The challenge for the future of finance is sustainability
Is there anything that is more related to the idea of sustainability than a project spanning over 99 years? MIND, the urban regeneration plan for the Expo area in Milan is a physical, brick and mortar evidence marrying a huge financial investment and a new ESG development model. But it is also a winning partnership between public and private actors.
SDA Bocconi School of Management