#Covid19: What if we made money inclusive and smart?
The Covid-19 virus may have shattered several aspects of our daily lives, but most of our needs remain: food, shelter, healthcare. Governments have taken numerous emergency measures to deal with the crisis. But preventing these funds from being diverted into savings or speculation is required. We must make money be inclusive and smart, in order to target the most vulnerable populations and the sectors impacted by the crisis. For more than half a century, a tool has proven its effectiveness: "service vouchers", as they are valid for specific purposes, have a limited timeframe and cannot be converted into cash.
I am delighted to join the "Uniting Business” initiative because the Up Group already has close relations with the United Nations. Up Group has been committed to the United Nations Global Compact since 2006, in line with its strategic project encompassing all the aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility. And today, naturally we are involved in the activities of Global Compact France, at Advanced level, the Global Compact’s highest differentiation level.
Governments are launching ambitious packages of emergency measures worth tens of billions of euros, and central banks are injecting hundreds of billions of euros into the banking and financial system. But we need to prevent these funds being diverted into savings, speculation and capital flight. That calls for inclusive, smart use of money. To be effective, these stimulus measures must target first and foremost the populations and sectors worst hit by the crisis, and they need to be direct, transparent and traceable.
Unlike payments into bank accounts, service vouchers are the only way of ensuring a recovery through consumption that supports very specific consumer goods and services, fuels clearly defined territories and benefits the economy in the short term, since this is money that can only be used for specific purposes, for a limited period of time and cannot be converted into cash.
In France, we are working with the Government to issue service vouchers for use by charities and municipalities who are assisting the most vulnerable people in society.
In Italy, the Government has made 400 million euros of funding available to municipalities to distribute food vouchers to those most in need. We are already working with the cities of Turin and Bologna, as well as many others, to facilitate the purchase of basic necessities.
As a cooperative group, along with all those seeking to build a social and solidarity economy that is fairer for all, and alongside the United Nations, which is facing the greatest crisis in its history, we are contributing our experience, our know-how and our solutions. Together we can give money back its role as a tool serving all the people and the construction of a fairer society. Let’s restore the proximity we have missed so much recently.