Grand Duchess Calls for Societal Impact, Altruism for a Social Economy

On Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 November 2017, HRH the Grand Duchess is taking part in the 8th edition of the Global Social Business Summit (GSBS), which is being held at the Cité Universitaire Internationale in Paris in the presence of world experts in inclusive finance and social economy; during her speech today, the Grand Duchess made a strong plea for “an economy in the service of men and not pure finance.”

HRH the Grand Duchess first paid tribute to the organisers of the GSBS, and more particularly to Professor Muhammad Yunus, creator of the first microcredit institution – the famous “Grameen Bank” – and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“By the values ​​it carries and the hope it gives birth to even the most remote corners of the world, “Social Business” lays the foundation for our economy of tomorrow,” continued the Grand Duchess, not without insisting that the economy should be “in the service of men and not of pure finance.”

In this regard, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa welcomed the fact that this vision is now shared by great business leaders, citing Emmanuel Faber, the CEO of Danone, who considers that “the role of a company is to create value, and also to share it to create wealth without creating more poverty.”

Following the lead of this great boss, the Grand Duchess said that the true success of an entrepreneurial project is assessed according to its impact on society and is measured by its innovative capabilities in the fight against corruption, poverty and exclusion.

“Some business models are no longer acceptable because they do not go in the direction of the world we want, neither for our children nor for our grandchildren. Something must be changed in this disturbing and destructive march forward. The world as we want it is the one that Professor Yunus describes in his new book. A world with zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions. A dream? I do not think so,” exclaimed Her Royal Highness.

The Grand Duchess also spoke more directly to representatives of the world of finance, urging them to contribute to the fight against “the inequality of wealth as we know it today with half of the heritage of the planet that belongs to 1% of its richest inhabitants… This is not about demonising capital, because it allows innovation and opens the door to the creativity of millions of caring men and women. Finance can become a noble and useful material for the future of the planet and social cohesion when it is worked by intelligent, generous and altruistic people.”

According to HRH the Grand Duchess, there are many examples of what finance can produce when it benefits the general interest. “Bankers, governments and investors have come together to invent green bonds to protect the environment and contribute to the energy transition. My country is also at the forefront of this activity,” she said before concluding on a note of hope: “I hope that the financial community and investors will put the same commitment and the same creative energy to solve other urgent social problems such as poverty, unemployment, immigration, school failure and even violence.”