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New expert committee to ensure the integrity of Social Sustainability Loans

Kommuninvest’s work to develop a new product, Social Sustainability Loans, has taken yet a few steps forward. The idea is for these loans to be used by municipalities and regions, including their companies, to promote investments in a socially sustainable society.

This autumn, the development process will enter into a pilot phase. Based on newly drafted basic documentation, which establishes a framework and relevant procedures, a handful of pilot customers will be given the opportunity to apply for Social Sustainability Loans. Provided that applications of sufficiently high quality are submitted, the first loans will be granted in October.

Loans can be granted for investments in three categories: housing and housing environment; safety, security and accessibility; as well as health, sports, education and culture. One of the key criteria is that the investments, as such or in the context of broader social initiatives, must contribute to achieving clearly defined social objectives.

If the pilot phase delivers good results, the ambition is for Social Sustainability Loans to be made available to all members of Kommuninvest, i.e. almost all Swedish municipalities and regions, from early 2021. At a later stage, provided that loan demand is high enough, the ambition is to issue a first Social Bond to Kommuninvest’s investors.

Loan applications will be examined by a newly formed group: the Committee on Social Sustainability. The committee includes eight experts with qualified and multifaceted knowledge in the social field, in research and innovation as well as operational development work. There is specific competence in, among other things, impact assessment of social initiatives, to which the framework attaches great importance. These experts are:

Lars Hultkrantz, Professor Emeritus, Örebro University School of Business

Tomas Bokström, Project Manager, leader of the Social & Health Impact Center, RISE

Aina Rundgren, Process Manager, leader of the Project Office, Örebro Municipality

Johan Sjöholm, Development Manager, Public Health, Kungälv Municipality

Rebecka Thilén, Public Health Strategist, Skövde Municipality

Anton Berg, Development Manager, Social Sustainability, Uppsala Municipality

Ingemar Ångman, Head of Social Welfare, Region Örebro County

Shirin Bartholdsson, Regional Developer, social investment funds, Region Västra Götaland

– I find it very positive that the committee has now been established. I look forward to taking part in its work. This type of social scheme, where physical investments are linked to social initiatives with distinct objectives, has the potential to provide exactly the sort of long-term impacts that are required to make social progress. It can contribute to building a more impact-oriented culture in municipalities, regions and the important welfare sector as a whole, says Lars Hultkrantz, one of the experts and Professor Emeritus at Örebro University School of Business.

– We have had an active dialogue with municipalities and regions throughout this development process. We now expect some particularly committed pilot customers to take the lead in the coming months. There is great interest in using this new financing tool to promote new working methods and reach gradually improved results in the work on social sustainability, says Björn Bergstrand, Head of Sustainability at Kommuninvest.

The basic documentation, including the Social Bonds Framework and application forms for Social Sustainability Loans, have been developed in collaboration between Kommuninvest, Danske Bank and SEB.