Seeking social profitability through investment
Everyone is talking about sustainability. Living through the pandemic and its toughest lockdowns has made people, and large companies in particular, much more aware of socially responsible investment. But, back in 1965, when MAPFRE incorporated this term into its founding statutes and assumed corporate social responsibility, it was one of the very first to do so. The insurance group and this philosophy have been growing together ever since, meaning that MAPFRE is now "leading the way for other companies," as José Luis Jiménez, Group Chief Investment Officer said in discussion with Alberto Matellán, Chief Economist at MAPFRE Inversión.
Both speakers recognized the need to make sure not only that the business is strong but also that this business is generated in the right way, so as to give part of the profits back to society. As an example of this, José Luis Jiménez recalled how "MAPFRE raised more than 250 million euros during the pandemic, as well as donating to the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas — Spanish National Research Council) to facilitate its COVID-19 vaccine development and creating its Inclusión Responsable fund, which invests in companies that promote access to employment for people with disabilities." For all those reasons, he stressed that "doing things right is in the company's DNA."
However, the speakers explained that before the pandemic the insurance industry had been overlooking the social side of things to put more focus on environmental issues. But now that the epidemiological crisis has had a social impact, companies "are doing everything they can to minimize the effects of the virus."
Speaking of what they consider greenwashing, the economist advocated MAPFRE's arrangement with the University of Siena, which "assesses the impact of portfolios on the UN Sustainable Development Goals," as a further step in the Group's commitment to financial and social profitability.
However, the experts consider MAPFRE's commitment to incorporate this philosophy into all funds—and even the entire balance sheet—to be a work in progress. According to Matellán, "90–95 percent of the companies that we invest in have a high or very high ESG rating. This is not an end in itself, but a means on our way to an end. Each small step we take counts."
To watch their discussion in full click here.