Social Impact Contracts (Contrats à Impact Social - CIS) aim to combat social exclusion through private investment. Rolled out by the French government in 2016, they enable private investors to support experimental new initiatives developed by key social players (associations, social enterprise, etc.), with the added guarantee that the French government will reimburse investments if certain social impact targets are met. “By conditioning the reimbursement of investments on the success of the project’s social impact, the financial risk of social innovation is assumed by private investors instead of the social associations or government,” explains Maha Keramane, Social Entrepreneurship & Microfinance Europe Manager at BNP Paribas.
The March 2016 call for CIS projects has already resulted in the certification of two BNP Paribas-structured projects.
- The first project is led by Adie, a recognized public utility association that helps those with no access to the job market or the banking system to start a business, and thereby create their own job, through the issuing of microloans. The project aims to expand Adie’s professional integration programs to cover rural areas.
- The second was set up by the association Passeport Avenir, which helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds continue their education by offering support through the Bac+5 (Master’s) level.
“BNP Paribas plays a dual role in supporting these first two CIS projects,” Maha Keramane explains. “On the one hand, it serves as the architect that structures the project, coordinates discussions and creates a tailored product to promote social impact, while on the other it acts as the investor.” Through these efforts, BNP Paribas is reaffirming its intention to become a leading bank in terms of social entrepreneurship. “We already support nearly 400 social entrepreneurs in France and the CIS projects represent a new step forward,” concludes Raphaèle Leroy, Social Entrepreneurship and CSR France Manager.
Three innovative programs that support social entrepreneurship
NovESS Fund: €100M for social and solidarity entrepreneurship
Launched last summer by the Caisse des Dépôts with the support of public and private partners, including BNP Paribas, the NovESS fund provides equity to businesses operating in the Social and Solidarity Economy.
“The fund will expand our financing capacity to meet the growing needs of associations, particularly those working in social medicine as well as innovative projects launched by social startups,” Raphaèle Leroy explains.
BNP Paribas played a pivotal role in creating this fund by becoming the top partner of the Caisse des Dépôts, providing a total investment of €10 million. “The impact analysis, a central feature of this fund, draws inspiration from the BNP Paribas methodology and will help to standardize the definition of social objectives as well as financial targets,” Maha Keramane adds.
The “90/10” model adapted to the general public
Every employee savings plan must offer at least one solidarity fund, this 90/10 fund I split with 90% of funds invested in SRI values and 10% in solidarity enterprises. BNP Paribas now offers this same approach to its retail customers through an innovative and efficient financing system that also informs consumers about the concept of social impact and how it is measured.
A socially responsible investment fund
“By creating a socially responsible investment fund, BNP Paribas gives investors a profitable savings option that also has meaning, since it contributes directly to financing businesses who work in the social and solidarity economy and are based in France,” Raphaèle Leroy emphasizes.