Equita and ALTIS, Graduate School Business and Society of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – established in 2005 to promote a responsible managerial culture through research, education and advisory – joined forces to start a partnership to conduct research into corporate sustainability.
Since the mid-2000s ALTIS Università Cattolica has been the pioneer in the study of corporate social responsibility in Italy and over the years it strengthened its capabilities with new initiatives on sustainability aimed at promoting socially responsible entrepreneurship and supporting the development and education of socially responsible managers. These are only few reasons that encouraged Equita to partner with ALTIS Università Cattolica.
Today non-financial rating agencies focus their analyses on large corporates, almost forgetting small and mid-sized companies, in part due to difficulties in collecting reliable data.
The partnership between Equita and ALTIS Università Cattolica aims to fill this information gap by paying more attention to environmental, governance and social (ESG) factors of Italian corporates, especially on small and mid-sized companies.
Understanding how Italian corporates deal with ESG issues is crucial for institutional investors that want to assess potential investment opportunities and better comprehend the risk profile of a company. Investors’ valuations should be based on metrics that are effectively applicable to small and mid-sized companies; using the same metrics and methodologies applied to large corporates (which offer higher degree of transparency but have corporate governance structures completely different from SMEs) can be inaccurate.
As part of the partnership, Equita and ALTIS Università Cattolica will research and identify relevant ESG factors for Italian SMEs. The results of the analysis will help to define the recommended ESG practices for SMEs and support investors to better evaluate these companies from an ESG perspective. The results of the research will be presented to the public in the coming months. The initiative, which will combine the experience of Equita’s Research Team on mid-small caps, which has been recognized by leading domestic and international institutional investors as one of the best research teams in Italy, and the deep academic background of ALTIS Università Cattolica on sustainability and corporate social responsibility topics, will focus on the analysis of a panel of small and mid-sized companies to elaborate a set of meaningful ESG metrics.
In addition to the research, the partnership also foresees other initiatives including active contribution of Equita in the Master in Finance: Instruments, Markets and Sustainability programme organized by ALTIS Università Cattolica: Equita will support the students with in-class testimonies and on-site visits to Equita’s offices, encouraging and fostering financial knowledge and competences with a specific focus on ethics and sustainable finance. Equita will also grant scholarships to students.
Andrea Vismara, Chief Executive Officer of Equita, commented: “Today the words “sustainable business” are synonymous with low risk, long-term investment and higher attractiveness to younger generations. By sharing our knowledge on sustainability and our deep understanding of Italian small and mid-caps with ALTIS Università Cattolica, we will be able to identify which ESG factors are really meaningful for an investor that is looking for a good opportunity among small and mid-sized corporates”. Vismara also added: “The partnership with ALTIS Università Cattolica, in line with the successful initiatives we have with Bocconi University and Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, is aimed at encouraging education and supporting the academic development of students”.
“Since its foundation, Altis has been dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainable finance, anticipating the huge interest developed in recent years by large European investors, especially for ESG factors.” – said Vito Moramarco, Director of ALTIS Università Cattolica – “Today the time has come to promote the concept of sustainability among SMEs – which represent the real entrepreneurial system of Italy – and not just only among large corporates. The partnership with Equita is a significant step up to further develop our mission which is carried on throughout academic programs, scientific research and consultancy services”.