IFB believes finance can and should be a force for good.
As we are at an inflection point in time, financiers should take up their responsibility and deliver for people and planet, alongside other stakeholders such as businesses, social purpose organizations, citizens, and governments.
In order to successfully address the important societal challenges of our times, we need a wide range of investors, capital providers and funders to join, from engaged grant-makers to impact investors, and from private players to public actors.
We understand this is a journey, but a journey that must go beyond intentions and should be tackled with a clear sense of urgency. Generating and demonstrating positive, measurable social and environmental impact is crucial.
We also understand that solutions should be sustainable, but that financial returns can and will vary, depending on the nature of the challenge and stage in the investment lifecycle.
This ranges from accepting negative returns through to capital preservation to competitive market, risk-adjusted returns. The collaboration of multiple actors, combining different types of investment, capital and funding, simultaneously integrating impact in the risk-return balance, will contribute to driving and scaling sustainable solutions.
In Belgium we already have successful examples including pioneers and a few well functioning networks, addressing parts of the impact investment and finance eco-system, investing in Belgium and abroad.
At the same time, there is room to enhance the awareness, the understanding and the sense of urgency amongst all investors, capital providers and funders in the Belgian landscape, be it institutional or public investors, private individuals and retail savers or traditional philanthropic organizations.
In parallel, Belgian policy makers need to identify and close gaps in the enabling environment, especially in the regulatory framework.
If we want to further contribute to the well-being of people and planet, as highlighted in the United Nation’s SDGs, accelerating the growth and improving the effectiveness of the impact finance market in Belgium is needed. This requires a concerted effort and strong voice as the scale of the challenge is huge. Neighboring countries show that this is possible and valuable.