Social finance is available to MuniFin’s customers, i.e. the local government organisations and operators within non-profit housing production. The projects to be financed must belong to one of the eligible project categories within MuniFin’s framework of social finance: housing, wellbeing or education. Another requirement is that the projects promote equality, a sense of community, wellbeing or the vitality of the municipalities or areas.
– MuniFin’s customers are responsible for a significant portion of the investments made in building the Finnish society and its infrastructure. We need to examine the need for investments, as well as the benefits and economic effects of investments broadly and in the long term, not only from the point of view of their economic, but also social and environmental impacts, says MuniFin’s Head of Customer Finance Aku Dunderfelt.
– Social investments have a much more extensive impact than most people realise. A library or public swimming pool, for example, influence people’s overall wellbeing and the community in multiple ways, Dunderfelt explains.
The first social financing projects were approved at the end of May. The projects are assessed and approved by a three-member evaluation team that comprises Jouni Parkkonen, Executive Directorof Association for Advocating Affordable Rental Housing – KOVA, researcher of municipalities Jenni Airaksinen from Tampere University and Financial Specialist in charge of social funding, Päivi Petäjäniemi, from MuniFin.
– The first approved projects for social finance are excellent examples of the spectrum of investments with a strong impact. Well-designed schools and student housing, for example, can have a wide-ranging impact on children and young people’s sense of security and community. Good design increases wellbeing but also prevents social exclusion, Päivi Petäjäniemi says.
Approved social finance projects
- Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas), several buildings
Investing in the long life cycle of buildings constitutes sustainable urban construction that takes environmental impacts into account. Communal, high-quality housing for students plays an important role in supporting young people at a significant turning point in their lives and helps to create the preconditions for building an active, healthy everyday life and for preventing social exclusion.
- Karstula comprehensive school, Karstula
Well-functioning, healthy and safe facilities for early childhood education and teaching are a foundation for the well-being of children, teenagers and teaching staff alike. Solutions that support safety and a sense of community can have a significant effect on children and teenagers’ self-esteem and later life. Using the school as a venue for village events will bring vitality to the village andstrengthen community spirit and add to the municipality’s attractiveness.
- Housing by Setlementtiasunnot, Jousenpuistonkatu, Espoo
Setlementtiasunnot is a producer of housing whose housing concept is truly praiseworthy, as it diversifies the concept of ‘normal’, integrates members of special groups into the rest of society and supports the strengthening of all the residents’ sense of community.
Communal housing solutions allow special groups to become involved with the wider community, which reduces loneliness, increases participation, prevents social exclusion and decreases the need for institutional housing and care. Some of the residents of these buildings are immigrants, and the project may profoundly promote their integration.
- Sodankylä municipality, Sopukka Wellbeing Centre
The evaluation team found the justification for the project very well founded. The circumstances in Northern Finland are exceptional due to the long distances, and regional challenges are considerable. Sopukka Wellbeing Centre’s operating model will boost the use of expert resources, make the healthcare supply chain more effective, considerably improve the safety of the region’s inhabitants and increase the region’s attractiveness.
- Turku Student Village Foundation, Tyyssija student housing, Turku
Tyyssija is an ambitious sustainable development project that will impact the environment and community spirit in a versatile way. Communal, high-quality housing for students plays an important role in supporting young people at a significant turning point in their lives and helps to create the preconditions for building an active, healthy everyday life and for preventing social exclusion.
- Versonsilmu Oy, Versokoti housing complex
Safe and well-functioning housing solutions improve disabled children and teenagers’ access to education. Living close to the necessary services will increase their self-reliance and help them be more active, which in turn will considerably improve their mental and physical wellbeing. It will also make it easier for them to integrate with the rest of society, which will have long-term effects on the residents’ adult life.
Forerunner of responsible financing in Finland
MuniFin was the first Finnish credit institution to offer green finance back in 2016. It was also the first financial institution to provide social finance in the Nordic countries.
Responsible investment opportunities are more and more in demand in international capital markets. Resources for social finance are acquired through bonds earmarked for social projects, which are the focus of great investor demand. In 2016, MuniFin was the first Finnish green bond issuer. It is also at the front line of European financial institutions to issue social bonds.
Financial Specialist, Social Finance Specialist, MuniFin
Tel. +358 40 761 7665
Manager, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, MuniFin
Tel. +358 400 204 853