The mission of the InSpire Foundation for Business and Society (IFBS) is to promote the concept of sustainable development in business and industry. As a non-profit institution, it is funded through an endowment by InSpire and project grants provided by corporations, foundations, governments and international organizations.
It was originally founded in 1996 by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) as the Foundation for Business and Sustainable Development, and served as the Council’s vehicle to promote the understanding of sustainable development and to encourage education and competence building. In 2001 it expanded its scope and became an independent foundation that received financial support from various international organizations and trusts, including the European Union, the UN and the World Bank.
Professor Jan-Olaf Willums, founder of the InSpire Foundation for Business and Society is the prime author of: The Primer for Responsible Investment Management of Endowments (PRIME), an initiative by the Bellagio Forum for Sustainable Development to ensure that the assets endowed to foundations will be invested responsibly in line with the foundations’ ethical and long-term sustainability objectives.
The aim of this Toolkit is to provide more clarity and greater understanding for all interested parties about how to better implement responsible investment practices.
PRIME Toolkit is intended for trustees, officers and directors of foundations and it addresses the following questions:
• Why should my foundation be interested in Responsible Investment at all?
• Should my foundation’s boards be concerned about how our endowment is invested?
• Which Responsible Investment approaches are most appropriate to our foundation’s overall mission and goals?
• Can a Responsible Investment strategy give returns equivalent to other investment approaches?
• What does this approach mean in terms of my fiduciary responsibility?
In 2004, the InSpire Foundation for Business and Society launched the research program INAVAL (Intangible Asset Valuation), which is studying the mechanisms of value creation and identifies the value drivers linked to intangible assets. This multiyear program is a cooperation among the Foundation for Business and Society, the Bellagio Foundation, IDEAM in France, DNV in Norway, and it also involves 120 master students from the Norwegian School of Management annually. Here is a link to Inaval 2005 Review:
InSpire Holding The core investment entity of the Group is InSpire Holding which has in most cases controlling interests in the various entities of the Group. It also holds financial investments and direct private equity investments in among others fish-farming and Nanotechnology. InSpire Holding is seed and “angel” investor to new early stage projects, and projects in developing countries. InSpire Holding is controlled by Nordic Enterprise, the investment company of the Willums family, which also provides funding for the InSpire Foundation for Business and Society. About inSpire Invest
Although there is an increasing awareness of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) issues among financial analysts, there is still a lot of confusion with regard to the materiality of these issues on companies’ valuation and how to integrate them into their analysis. Inspire Invest core competency is to bridge the gap between extra financial and corporate governance research providers and the end users in the investment community. Our objective is to assist fund managers to translate and integrate extra-financial research into their investment strategies.
InSpire Invest is a dedicated advisory group specialised in extra-financial and corporate governance company assessment. Together our team members combine experience within the investment services sector and expert knowledge in ESG and sustainable development themes.
Our focus is on defining in-depth sector risk and opportunity profiles for ESG issues, enabling our clients to bring into perspective analysis received from research providers. Inspire Invest entered into a long-term partnership agreement with a research provider, through which we have access to a global coverage of company ESG performance information. However, our services can also be adapted to clients with existing research provider contracts. This process allows us to develop a third-generation interpretative analysis of corporate risks and opportunities related to intangible assets.
The basis for this in-depth analysis is the continuously improved and developed through the research think-tank INAVAL (the Intangible Asset Valuation Program), a multi-year research effort initiated in 2004. The aim of the INAVAL research project is to define the impact of environmental social and governance issues on companies’ intangible value and the integration of the findings in traditional valuation techniques.The founding members of INAVAL are Inspire Invest, DNV, IDEAM and the Foundation for Business and Society through which academic institutions like the Norwegian School of Management (BI) and HEC (Paris) participate. The MISTRA foundation and Innovest are also contributors and partners on specific projects.