Even when the economy is performing well, many developing countries are highly unequal societies. Brazil is an example of this. Even in developed countries, society does not hesitate to criticize the financial markets where they are seen as contributing to systems that are not conducive to social and human development. Forum Financeiro Socioambiental is a new initiative that will focus on the role of financial markets in Brazil.
Initiatives like the Equator Principles and Who Cares Wins are clear signs of concerns about the role played by financial markets and attempts to involve them in social issues. But despite these initiatives and others like them, there is still a gap for an instrument or initiative that will focus exclusively on the role of financial markets in social change and assess what has been done and what can be done.
The Forum Financeiro Socioambiental (Financial Forum for Social and Environmental Investments) aims to devise such an instrument for Brazil and to build a concrete common platform for the country’s major banks, the Brazilian Stock Exchange, NGOs and social business enterprises. Scheduled to hold its first meeting in October 2007, the Forum was created by Atitude with the support of Ashoka and will be developed in partnership with GEXSI. It will take place every two years, with each meeting setting the agenda and goals for the succeeding one.
In the belief that the Brazilian initiative will be a trailblazer for others, Atitude, GEXSI and Ashoka will also work on replicating it in Europe, Africa and Asia.