The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UNOPS Social Impact Investing Initiative opens new base in Finland

UNOPS Social Impact Investing Initiative (S3I) will manage its growing portfolio of projects from a new office in Helsinki, Finland, launched with the support of the government of Finland and the City of Helsinki.

“We were really impressed with the commitment of the Finnish government in supporting new and innovative ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said UNOPS Executive Director, Grete Faremo. 

“This aligns well with our ambition to build an international social impact investing initiative, helping nations across the world to achieve their SDG priorities,” added Ms. Faremo.

The government of Finland are planning to provide €20 million towards the initiative, which is helping to attract private sector investment in infrastructure projects that generate social impact.

“Bringing public and private financing together will provide a new channel for managing the developing country risks and will enable a greater social impact,” said Finland's Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ville Skinnari.

“Public financing will also mobilize private finance for promoting sustainable development. [UNOPS dedicated S3I] office in Helsinki will also assist in building sustainable growth and in establishing new areas of expertise in Finland,” he added.

From its new home in Sofia Future Farm, in the centre of Helsinki, UNOPS S3I unit will facilitate major sustainable infrastructure projects in three key sectors – renewable energy, affordable housing, and health – financed in large part, through private investment. Through S3I, UNOPS will operate as project developer, conducting a rigorous social due diligence process and ensuring projects are suitable for investment. Impact investing encourages responsible investment where investors can help generate social impact while making a financial return.

To date, UNOPS S3I has announced several major affordable housing and renewable energy projects in the Caribbean, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico and Pakistan. More than 800,000 new affordable homes will be built in total as part of the broader initiative, making it one of the most ambitious affordable housing projects in the world.

“[This] initiative is of global importance and also supports Helsinki’s goal of a more significant role for cities in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,” said the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori.

*Updated Monday, 12 August 2019


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