The 2° Censis Tendercapital Report “Sustainability in the times of the health primacy”
2 December 2020
The second Censis-Tendercapital Report on Impact Investments, “Sustainability when health comes first”, was presented to the Senate in Rome. The objective was to draw attention to social sustainability in the sense of creating fair access to well-being for everyone, with a focus on the current, unprecedented health emergency, by exploring the opinions, behaviour and values of Italians.
According to the Censis-Tendercapital report, the health emergency has expanded the scope of social distress and the numbers clearly demonstrate this: 5 million Italians are finding it difficult to put enough food on the table and 600,000 people have joined the ranks of the poor; 7.6 million families have experienced a severe deterioration in their standard of living as a result of a reduced income and fixed expenses to face; 23.2 million have dealt with the hardship of a lower family income; 2 million were already hit hard in the first wave of the pandemic; and 9 million Italians have supplemented their income with loans from family or banks. Today, losing one’s income is not uncommon: 53% of low-wage earners fear losing their income and 42% of Italians see their jobs at risk.
The Report reveals a society in distress with widening inequities in the wake of the pandemic. In the future, social sustainability, which is intertwined with environmental and economic sustainability, will need more than government assistance alone. It will require the impact investments of the financial world, in which investors’ savings are directed towards social impact investments and where companies operate as a community. It is noteworthy that 82.3% of Italians favour measures that require the factories and businesses that produce strategic goods and services, such as face masks and ventilators, essential during the pandemic, to remain in Italy. Furthermore, the Report shows that their interest goes hand in hand with protectionism against products made in Countries that do not respect our social and health regulations, with 86% of those surveyed stating this (88.3% of women and 89.2% of Italians living in the North East).
The Report highlights a wider gender gap in women’s employment, with 34.8% of women reporting a worsening of their employment situation, versus 23.9% of men. In addition to the data on the changes in perceived working conditions, the data on employment show that, as the health emergency persists, the penalisation of women in the job market has worsened further: in the second quarter of 2020, in fact, the employment rate of women was 48.4% (-2.2% compared to 2019), while that of men was 66.6% (-1.3%).
According to the President of Censis, Professor Giuseppe De Rita, “social cohesion is a prerequisite for growth, like good welfare. Making people feel like someone’s got their back, for their health and the future of their children, is the best way to reassure Italians and renew their appetite for new challenges. The pandemic will leave us with a fearful, more unequal society in search of growth. The government alone won’t be able to alleviate the suffering, that’s why the efforts of all players, businesses and markets together will be needed.”
According to the President of Tendercapital, Moreno Zani, “2020 was and remains an unprecedented year, fraught with extremely complex health and economic challenges. However, we must not forget the social consequences of the pandemic, which could become truly serious: growing social inequality, gender gap, fear and uncertainty. Italians clearly state that an inclusive, sustainable and fair society is the priority of our times, with deep social sensitivity. The report presented today highlights these aspects and we hope that it can be a useful contribution for those grappling with the critical issues arising from the pandemic.”
The Italian Government Commissioner for the Covid-19 Emergency, Domenico Arcuri, stressed out that “the Censis-Tendercapital Report clearly illustrates how the health emergency has accentuated inequalities, while at the same time endangering the right to health and life. In this respect, every effort must be made to ensure a more acceptable level of social sustainability. The forced isolation is, moreover, compromising the relationships that are an invaluable source of enrichment for people, creating a deep social distress, which amplifies the economic crisis. My personal commitment and that of the Government is to make it a top priority to protect the weakest, in order to help create a more sustainable society, as the research aptly shows.”
“The report clearly describes how the health crisis is highlighting the real risk of heavy job losses,” noted Pier Paolo Baretta, Undersecretary of the Italian Ministry of Economy. “We therefore need a strategy for the future, with the restructuring of the production and distribution system.” It is therefore essential to start from our Country’s potential, such as manufacturing and tourism, while also investing Italians’ savings in growth. I categorically exclude any estate tax.”