An SGD Pioneer for Investing in Social Development
By integrating the best efforts of Governments, civil society and the private sector, Hanaa Helmy is creating initiatives that directly better people’s lives by curbing disease, delivering education and jobs and improving local infrastructure.
Hanaa is the founding Chief Executive Officer of the EFG Hermes Foundation in Cairo, a nonprofit organization created in 2006 that aims to help people suffering under the region’s financial, educational and health challenges. The foundation is part of EFG Hermes, a financial services institution based in Egypt that provides investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage and other financial services.
Hanaa is devoted to holistic and sustainable development projects that advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The foundation helps meet the needs of the community by focusing on three core issues: poverty alleviation, disease prevention and youth development. The foundation has led efforts to eradicate liver disease in Egypt and restrain the spread of Hepatitis C virus (HCV). One project, for example, is a communications campaign that works with Egyptian universities to prevent the spread of HCV among Egyptian youth.
Recently, the foundation joined forces with Government agencies, civil society groups and the private sector to seal a US$ 3.7 million sustainable development initiative that reflects the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and meets many SDGs. It will improve the lives of about 60,000 under-privileged citizens with infrastructure improvements in their neighborhoods and provide them with educational and economic opportunities and basic human rights.
As part of her strategy to advance the Global Goals, Hanaa first worked with internal stakeholders — EFG Hermes employees — and developed a sustainability strategy that emphasizes responsible business conduct. It also gave employees a better understanding of the Global Goals.
Hanaa then focused on developing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy for the company’s various business lines. In 2017, EFG Hermes officially adopted a policy that defined ESG guidelines for its business lines and publicly demonstrated its commitment to sustainable and responsible investment.
As a result, EFG Hermes became the first Egyptian financial services corporation to sign the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The PRI is an investor initiative in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact.
By embracing ESG issues, EFG Hermes is better equipped to meet future challenges, remain competitive and keep pace with global growth.
To spread awareness of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, EFG Hermes reaches out through social media and the intranet and delivers a yearly Communication on Progress (CoP) report to the UN Global Compact. It also publishes an annual sustainability report that highlights the company’s key performance indicators and its strategy toward responsible investment.
Hanaa continues to support the Global Goals within the investment and finance sectors through membership in the Sustainability Advisory Committee of the Egyptian Stock Exchange.
EFG Hermes has been participating in the UN Global Compact since 2011 and Hanaa has initiated a practice by which EFG Hermes makes an annual commitment to the Principles. A founding member of the Global Compact Network Egypt, EFG Hermes has been working with the Local Network and partner organizations to shape a responsible business climate in Egypt. Hanaa also works through business networks and social media to encourage businesses in Egypt to follow and adopt the Principles.
Hanaa has devoted the last eighteen years to work that helps disabled children in the Arab world become productive members of society. She is a founder of MOVE Foundation for Children with Cerebral Palsy, a nonprofit organization in Cairo that provides children with severe disabilities greater opportunities for participation and inclusion in the community.