Sustainable finance for culture and social cohesion
Participants at the event (L-R): Alain Bidjeck, Berthold Kuhn, Jean-Christophe Bas, Pascale Thumerelle, Mohamed Djelid, Patricia Piriou, Lazare Eloundou-Assomo, Etienne Tellier, and Arnaud Drouet.

UNESCO, Paris, 15 June 2019: UNESCO hosted a meeting on ‘Sustainable finance for culture and social cohesion’, organised by the DOC Research Institute on 15 July in Paris.

This meeting marked the beginning of a new DOC and Respethica initiative to highlight and advocate for the importance of responsible finance for the promotion of culture and cultural diversity as they affirm social cohesion. This innovative project has been developed with Respethica, a Paris-based firm providing advisory services on responsible value creation and impact investment.

In their opening remarks, Mohamed Djelid, deputy director of the Bureau of Strategic Planning at UNESCO, Lazare Eloundou-Assomo, director at Culture and Emergencies, DOC CEO Jean-Christophe Bas, and Pascale Thumerelle, founder and president of Respethica stressed the need to mainstream culture in the sustainable development agenda and to engage financial institutions in this effort.

Participants including Patricia Piriou, managing director of Triodos Bank, Alain Bidjeck, CEO of Cultures for Africa, and Etienne Tellier, CFO of ICONEM, agreed that efforts will be undertaken to integrate culture more into sustainability policies and programmes, targeting a variety of stakeholders that aim to make a difference in the world of finance, including the banking sector and investment funds. Mrs Piriou shared the experience of Triodos Bank, a pioneer in the sector that has invested exclusively in projects that have added societal value.

It was agreed that a roundtable discussion would be organised at the Rhodes Forum, 11-12 October. The purpose of the event on Rhodes will be to further explore the issue with a view to forging an alliance of institutions and like-minded experts and to developing a set of guidelines and possible actions for sustainable finance that benefit the cultural sector.

Berthold Kuhn, DOC advisor, stressed the importance of producing evidence-based research on the impact of culture on social cohesion and development.

CEO Jean-Christophe Bas expressed his gratitude to UNESCO for hosting this first meeting and to all participants for sharing their experiences and ideas with experts from diverse backgrounds. This new initiative aims to carry sustainable finance beyond the ‘ESG criteria’ (environment, social, governance) and will see more stakeholders invited to join its future events and activities.


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