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Why the ‘economy of wellbeing’ is good for people and for budgets.

19 September, 2019
Cover photo for financing health promotion briefing

The ‘economy of wellbeing’, currently a priority at the highest levels of European decision-making, is being discussed in Finland today. It is a policy orientation and a governance approach which aims to put people and their wellbeing at the centre of policy- and decision-making. This prioritisation is an opportunity for much-needed investment in both European economies and the people that drive them. Improving and promoting health and wellbeing will lead to more stable societies, sustainable growth, and reduced inequalities.

Today, EuroHealthNet launches one important tool for progress: an information guide for financing health promoting services. It demonstrates how to make transitions from spending on cures and treatments to investing in preventative approaches for better health and wellbeing. It explores how resources and capacities can be mobilised to help finance these transitions and contribute to an ‘economy of wellbeing’.

Read the information guide here

“We welcome the initiative of the Finnish Presidency to push for the ‘economy of wellbeing’ as an overarching political priority, and to prioritise policies that focus on equal access for all to quality public services. That includes health services, health-enhancing and preventative measures, strong social protection, education, and training. However, as these services are chronically underfunded and as demands have risen, we have to be smart in making the most suitable and equitable use of public funds and to maximise the added value of private investments within ethical and sustainable frameworks” said Caroline Costongs EuroHealthNet Director

“It is crucial to invest in the types of social infrastructure and health promoting services which best respond to the needs and expectations of people, especially for those who are most disadvantaged. Long-term solutions and alternative financial instruments must be considered and developed to fill existing gaps in investment.” Said Vertti Kiukas, Vice President of EuroHealthNet and Secretary General of SOSTE, the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, Finland

EuroHealthNet’s information guide for financing health promoting services aims to build the capacity of the public health and wider social policy community in EU Member States to access new funds such as the increased investment fund ‘InvestEU’. Collaboration across sectors and with public and private actors could lead to new ways of working and facilitate the transition at a scale that is needed for improved wellbeing and health of all people.

The guide further explores how we can increase funds through smarter taxation, boost investments and innovative thinking, and recognise health as an asset. It provides examples through a range of cross-sectoral case studies. The guide also presents a set of public health-focused investment criteria for potential investors or financial managers. The criteria aim to bridge the gap between public health, wellbeing and financial investment. The guide which has been developed in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe and the WHO Coalition of Partners will be supplemented by an interactive online tool that will be launched at the end of 2019.

The report includes the following list of case studies:

  • French Finansol Label – signalling ethical finance, France
  • Prioritisation Framework for public health investments, United Kingdom
  • Allocating part of income tax for health promotion, Lithuania and Portugal
  • The Hungarian public health product tax, Hungary
  • The Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax, Ireland
  • The Prevention Act, Germany
  • European Investment Bank financing of primary care centres, Ireland
  • Activate – social impact bond to prevent heart disease, Canada
  • Combatting loneliness and social isolation, United Kingdom
  • Social outcomes contract for a preventive and healthy workplace, Sweden.
  • Combined Lifestyle Interventions covered by insurance funds, the Netherlands
  • Pilot Koto-SIB for the employment of immigrants, Finland
  • Job-rotation as a tool to maintain employability – TErrA project, Germany


The information guide served as a basis on which our e-Guide for Financing Health Promoting services was built. Find more information about the e-Guide here.

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