The Sustainable Finance: its role in Disability and Sport seminar, organized by the MAPFRE Sustainable Finance Observatory and the Pontifical University of Salamanca

 

“My whole life has revolved around sport, and for 30 years I’ve been the father of a family of a person with intellectual disabilities.” Thus began former coach of the national Spanish football team Vicente del Bosque’s presentation during the second online conference organized by the MAPFRE Sustainable Finance Observatory along with one of its members, the Pontifical University of Salamanca. Given the theme – Sustainable Finance: its role in Disability and Sport – the seminar could not have wished for a more appropriate guest speaker.

Del Bosque stressed that people and companies “must believe in what they do” in relation to the sustainable initiatives and socially responsible investments that are introduced. Speaking to this were Alberto Matellán, MAPFRE Inversión’s chief economist, and Luis García, a manager at MAPFRE AM. Matellán spoke about the MAPFRE AM Inclusión Responsable fund, which deliberately seeks out portfolio companies on the basis of how committed they are to hiring people with disabilities. Del Bosque stressed that people with disabilities “improve the business environment”, while Matellán added that, in addition, “they often deliver their companies a competitive advantage”, as they have been able to observe first-hand from the companies they analyze and, of course, from their own experience at MAPFRE.

Luis García, manager of the MAPFRE AM Behavioral fund, said that the sporting sector has a weight of 20 percent in the fund’s portfolio, including three positions in football teams: Olympic Lyon, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in Amsterdam. In addition, on the sustainable side of things, he also manages the MAPFRE Good Governance fund, which places special emphasis on corporate governance. “Sustainability and financial profitability should go hand in hand. Our investment horizon is long-term and must therefore be sustainable, and based on what can last over time”, explained García.

During the debate, the importance of the human factor came up again and again, both in sports and in the world of investment. Vicente del Bosque indicated that, at times like these when society is experiencing more and more difficulties, “we have to sensitize ourselves, and willingly take on our obligation to help out.” And in the business world he conveyed the same sentiment through the idea of being loyal to your company, or feeling the colors of your club, as they say in football. As García indicated, the human factor, and specifically the company’s management team, is the variable at the top of the pyramid when they make an investment decision. “In the financial world, there is a fundamental element, and that is that all investments end up being determined by the human factor. And we think that sustainable finance should be seen as a tool for improving people’s lives beyond financial profitability and data,” added Matellán.