ERNOP Online Series 2022-2023

The value of sustainable investments and how to measure it

Speaker: Paul Smeets (Professor of Sustainable Finance, University of Amsterdam)

Discussant: Lev Fejes (EVPA Philanthropy House)

Date: April 4, 2023, 11-12 CET

About this seminar: Sustainable investments have been increasing in popularity and are expected to increase further. For instance, as of September this year, the European Union will require all financial institutions to measure their clients’ preferences for Sustainable Investments. Paul Smeets will discuss how institutions should measure such preferences. Moreover, are their clients willing to pay for sustainable investments? He will discuss his insights of research on social and corporate governance based on research among five European countries, highlighting the importance of the countries’ context and the type of investment: e.g. private investments or pension funds.

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About Prof Paul Smeets

His research particularly focuses on understanding what motivates millionaires to give to charity, how the rich think about income redistribution and how money increases happiness. Also, on how to maximize positive societal impact of donations and investments. I published in journals like The Journal of FinanceThe Review of Financial Studies, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In short; Sustainable Finance, Millionaires, Behavioral Finance, Experimental Economics and Happiness

Get the latest updates on The Impact of Giving via his YouTube Channel


About the The Finance Group at the University of Amsterdam

The Finance Group is home to 34 ambitious academics, ranging from junior (tenure-track) researchers to leading senior academics, as well as lecturers and PhD candidates. The group is very diverse, with 16 different nationalities and has a collegial and active team spirit. Our group maintains strong links to top schools in North America where many faculty members have studied or taught previously, and in Europe, where faculty participate in various academic networks and policy-making bodies and where their research has impact on the public debate. Our researchers foster strong ties with the industry and business, both nationally and internationally.

Faculty members regularly publish in top-finance and econ journals and present their work at top academic conferences every year. The Finance Group uses its prominence in research also to address major societal challenges, including the impact of finance on inequality, stability issues in the financial sector, key financing challenges associated with sustainability, moving away from fossil-type energy sources, and transition issues in moving to a circular economy. This outreach and policy focus, grounded in a deep research culture, is key to the role of academia in society.


About Dr Lev Fejes

Lev holds a doctorate in criminal justice from the School of Criminal Justice within Michigan State University (MSU) and an MA in Nonprofit Organization Management from Babe?-Bolyai University. As the Head of Research at the Association for Community Relations (ARC) he is responsible for coordinating the organization’s research efforts related to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. He is a founding member of the Initiative for European Democratic Culture (ICDE) think-tank, and a research fellow at F?gara? Research Institute and Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD).

An enthusiast of research methods, at ARC he utilizes his research experience developed at the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP) within MSU in designing and implementing studies aimed at furthering the understanding of philanthropic behavior in Romania and at informing decisions with regards to the development needs of Romanian NGOs. In his other capacities, Lev pursues various topics related mainly to urban safety and policing.

His area of expertise includes anti-counterfeiting strategies, consumer behavior, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and public policy. His main academic research interests relate to criminology, product counterfeiting, policing and urban safety. He is also interested in more applied research on the topics of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility and is passionate about turning the world into a better place for each and all.

About the EVPA Philanthropy House

EVPA is a unique network at the intersection of finance and purpose, driven by knowledge and focused on impact. We aim to increase prosperity and social progress for all, fix inequalities and injustices and preserve the planet. We rally people, capital, knowledge and data to catalyse, innovate and scale impact. We mix breakthrough research, eye-opening data, actionable learning and honest experience exchange to ignite innovation and build capacity to match ambitions, forge solutions, break barriers and bridge gaps for a bigger, deeper and smarter impact. We build synergies that tackle critical social and environmental problems at scale – and change mindsets. EVPA platforms facilitate thematic and sectoral collaboration but our ground- and silos-breaking convening ability is our true superpower. Enable real and lasting change – that’s EVPA approach. We take on big issues, study and celebrate systems change, call for transformative regulatory frameworks and optimised public funding. As we guide newcomers to the impact space, we promote impact transparency and integrity.