According to European commission SI synthesis reports, the EU approach to social investment is more based on additional dimensions, such as raising efficiency and effectiveness of social policies, while addressing critical demographic and societal changes. These expected societal changes are the mirrors of the socially responsible examples which we are going to discuss. results The commission report mentions as “The SIP provides a basis for putting social issues at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy: it aims to provide guidance to help reach the Europe 2020 targets by establishing a link between social policies, the reforms as recommended in the European semester to reach the Europe 2020 targets and the relevant EU funds.” Above mentioned extract from the European commission, SI synthesis report moreover support the argument discussed above relating to EU standpoint towards the social investment.
Socially responsible investments according to the SI Synthesis Reports
According to SI synthesis reports, there are some countries which are maintaining a well-established social investment approach to many social policies. Also, they maintain functional institutional linkages which are addressing critical social challenges. For instance they point out following socially responsible examples;
- Statistical indicators in Belgium show that the country is performing relatively well regarding social impact investing.
- German socially responsible investment approach corresponds to a paradigm shift, which was implemented in labor market policies starting with Hartz reforms between 2003 and 2005 and to a paradigm shift in family policy during the last decade.
- There has for long been a great approach to social investment in Denmark, Iceland and Norway without ever putting it in to social investment definition.
- Social impact fund in Finland begins before the birth of the child from free maternity and child health clinics, free maternity packages, free daycare services, free meals for students, and free education from pre-primary schools to universities so and so.
Countries that have taken element steps on Social impact investing
Some European countries have a long way to go and they show some awareness of social investment. They have begun to apply elements of a social investment approach in a few specific policy areas. For instance they point out following socially responsible examples as emerging steps;
- The use of the social investment model in the design and implementation of social policies in Spain is still quite weak, but, specific systems developed in recent years.
- The social investment is not a mainstream topic in most social policies in Hungary. However, some strategies can be said to focus on socially responsible investment, such as a focus on child poverty and early intervention.
- Poland does not have a separate social investment policy agenda, but they try to follow policies of the European Commission’s Social Investment.
Countries that just start the journey towards social impact investing
Finally, there are some European countries where a social investment approach has not so far made many significant influences on the overall policy agenda. But, some seem to have started moving slightly in a socially responsible investment direction in a few policy areas. For instance:
- Social policy in Croatia is not based on a coherent social impact investing approach, either at national, regional or local levels.
- The overall structure of social expenditure indicates that Estonia still spends relatively little on health services, in-kind family benefits, active labor market policies and social exclusion. Estonia spends relatively more on cash benefits for families with children and disabled people.
- Social investment approach improvements in Italy were in unemployment benefits, but other policy areas and a minimum income scheme not exists yet. Therefore a clear social impact investing strategy is lacking.
- Social investment is not a mainstream topic in social policy in Lithuania though there are some movements towards investment in human and social capital.
- Turkey has put effort to implement active labor market policies and to extend compulsory education to pre-primary schooling.
We have discussed about what is social investment and it’s profitability in the previous article. We talk about more and more academic and societal topics, therefore stay tuned with us.