Values' Metrics: new tools for evaluating investments
By Vatican News
The Fon.Te Fund, the Federation for the Economy of the Common Good in Italy, PwC, the Core Values Association, and a major asset management group have developed an analysis model to go beyond the current evaluation tools for investments.
We discuss this with Maurizio Grifoni, president of the FON.TE pension fund in the following interview:
Q: What moved you to take this path?
The encyclical Laudato si' initiated a general reflection on our living together on our one earth, on respect for the environment and its resources, on the need to preserve, protect, and develop the global heritage entrusted to us: integral ecology. The encyclical Fratelli tutti goes on to define a solution to growing socioeconomic, ecological, and health inequality, and how to repair the world on a human, spiritual and environmental level. The two encyclicals have indicated a precise path and an unbreakable commitment to the respect of fundamental values: "Core Values." The recent UN report on climate change, which UN Secretary António Guterres himself has defined as a "Code Red for Humanity," is further confirmation that we must act quickly. Our journey began a few years ago: on November 4, 2016, influential and important world leaders in advertising, communications, and new digital technologies gathered at the Pontifical Lateran University. The Core Values Association propitiated the meeting with the Catholic Church on how to convey Values in an ever-changing world.
Q: How did the creation of the Metrics - Values' Metrics come about?
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the weak sides of existing socio-economic models, has shown how environmental, social, cultural, spiritual, financial, economic, and health protection assets are intimately connected and how the weakness of one of them inevitably reflects on all the others. Inequalities, polarization, asymmetries, exploitation, pollution, social tensions, migration, climate change, and much more, in the post-Covid era require a comprehensive rethinking of economics and finance. “Values' Metrics" is a new tool for evaluation, measurement, and validation that brings together the fundamental principles expressed by Laudato si', by Fratelli tutti, by the social doctrine of the Church, by the indications of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development with ESG aspects and SRI principles also declined according to the values of the Economy of the Common Good movement. Values' Metrics, therefore, proposes to provide international finance and its investors with an objective evaluation criterion that will allow them to direct investments towards a new economy and, ultimately, towards a new world. The model of analysis developed integrates the most common technical-methodological references (SDGs, GRI, Taxonomy report) with the insights emerging from the reading of the encyclicals Laudato si' and Fratelli tutti of Pope Francis, coordinated in the light of the matrix of the Common Good and used to overcome those evaluation mechanisms underlying an economic thought that supports profit, and not value, as the sole and ultimate goal of business activity. The model realized wants to contribute to support finance, in its generating and creative capacity, and the economy, in the creation of wealth and widespread welfare: directing investments towards a world of companies that operate for the common good, using profit as a means and not as the end of economic activities.
Q: What impact could Values' Metrics have in the context of international finance?
Saint Francis was aware of the importance of creating economic value, but he was equally convinced that it was necessary to protect, multiply and share the wealth generated by enterprise at many levels. Today, profit is the measure of all things, or at least the sole criterion of their value. The welding between the technocratic paradigm and the search for profit is the origin of the culture of discarding: what is considered worthless is thrown away because it is no longer capable of producing profit, regardless of its intrinsic value as a creature or human being. Today, directing investments towards a world of businesses that operate for the common good is more necessary than ever. Evaluating that complex system of companies in measurable terms is not an easy task, which is why Values' Metrics can be something concrete that helps apply the principles of the common good.
Q: How do you envisage the relationship with the universities in terms of interaction on the territory?
Talking about sustainable development, that is, economic, social, and ecological development, means correlating the theme of planetary development with the fight against poverty. These topics require interdisciplinary scientific collaboration and for this reason we have set up a highly qualified international scientific committee that can safeguard the humanistic, social, psychological, legal, and economic dimensions of the Values' Metrics algorithm. In this sense, the interaction with Universities at an international level becomes a starting point to guarantee, through research, a continuous deepening and updating of this tool. The interaction with the academic world and the scientific value leads us to an active participation in the European Community in the perspective of sustainable development.
Interest in the project can be expressed on the website: www.valuesmetrics.org.