Tags >> Microfinance
This publication is part of the CleanStart agenda to improve understanding and awareness of the potential of microfinance to stimulate the adoption of sustainable clean energy while drawing attention to the knowledge and skills needed to add clean energy financing to lending portfolios.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a methodological guide to expanding access to clean energy for poor people and micro-entrepreneurs through microfinance and strengthened energy value chains. This guide is intended to support consultation processes that the UN Capital Development Fund (UNC DF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UN DP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF ) are undertaking in CleanStart countries. It may also serve as a useful tool for broader consultations by others seeking to advance the Rio+20 commitments on energy.
Many see microfinance as a solution to poverty. It may be a powerful tool, but what can it do to finally build the sustainable economy we desperately need?
Of what use will microfinance be if it contributes to the environmental degradation that aggravates inequality and poverty?
There is no shortage of policies that govern the environment and policies that regulate the microfinance sector. Many microfinance institutions have their own internal environmental policies. Voluntary policies are nice, but there is a lack of action on the part of government to impose sustainable practices in the microfinance sector, but, it isn’t for a lack of ideas for such policies.
Read Entire Article:
Thank you for the mention of GreenMicrofinance in the article, Mariana Gerard, Charles Ojei, Windhi Trianugrayati, Jacquelyn Pinckney, Sovanlyna Phin, and Samuel Benoit. The authors are Master of Social Entrepreneurship candidates at Hult International Business School. http://www.hult.edu/
"A 2006 roundtable convened by the Wharton Environmental Management Program and Green Microfinance concluded that while microfinance institutions (MFIs) can do much, they cannot do it all by themselves. They concluded that governments need to provide an infrastructure in which sustainable activities have market value."
2010 Haiti...today moving towards Ecological Sustainability!
Roy Morrison is Southern New Hampshire UniversityDirector of the Office of Sustainability. He recently completed work including, Seven Postulates for An Ecological Civilization - published by Center for Ecozoic Studies Monthly Musings / February 28, 2011 - not on-line)
Roy talks on how Ecological Sustainability, Peace, and Social Justice are inextricably connected. Some of his key points support GreenMicrofinance's mission.
* An ecological democracy pursues sustainability in all aspects of life.
* We must build the road as we travel towards an ecological civilization and those who would realize and maintain it, must pursue sustainability as their ongoing goal and guide.
* An ecological civilization is characterized by the ongoing pursuit of sustainability in the economic, ecological, and social realms. Success in all three realms is completely interdependent. We cannot succeed in one without succeeding in the others.
* Economic growth must mean ecological improvement.
* We have the technological, economic, political and philosophical means for an ecological turn. Our challenge is to decide to employ them for ecological ends.
* A fundamental marker of progress toward an ecological civilization will be measured by a progressive annual decrease in global carbon emissions, and an annual increase in global economic output that leads to ecological improvement.
* A global sustainable order requires technical assistance and transfer of resources and capital from rich to poor to make possible a sustainable global convergence.
* Without justice and fairness and sustainability for all, there ultimately will be sustainability and prosperity for no one.
Posted by: Elizabeth Israel
Tagged in: Technology
, Environmental Sustainability
, Climate Change
, Carbon Offsets
La Mosquitia, one of the last remaining tropical forest areas left in Central America, is the most impoverished region in Honduras. Local communities, including the indigenous Miskito (or Mosquitia) people, have struggled to keep alive their distinctive cultural heritage while dealing with the threats of environmental and economic uncertainty.
Through a carbon-neutral biofuel initiative, the MOPAWI (from Mosquitia Pawisa) seek to generate equitable social development through sustainable microenterprise utilizing palm oil that is used for a variety of purposes. This approach will provide financial, social, and environmental returns in order to:
- Increase local employment while decreasing out-migration;
- Lower the cost of production and with lower agricultural labor;
- Reduce waste and increase product yield; and,
- Decrease emissions and deforestation.
“The beauty of this enterprise,” says David Hircock, Senior Advisor for Estée Lauder, “is the multidimensional, entrepreneurial approach. Many elements of this approach can bring much-needed cash into the economy and also negate the need for cash. For example, the indigenous community may not need to purchase diesel. Additionally, the enterprise incorporates important elements affecting local security issues, such as food, water, land and economics. Perhaps most importantly, this enterprise could show that the Mosquitia people are integral to the sustainable development of the area and local economy of Puerto Lempira, whereas at the moment they are so often marginalized. Now they can have a much-needed voice.”
Microfinance and Climate Change: Can MFIs Promote Environmental Sustainability The Summary was authored by our own Betsy Teutsch, GreenMicrofinance, Director of Communication. Great work, Betsy!
This report summarizes key themes and “lessons learned” from the “Microfinance and Climate Change: Can MFIs Promote Environmental Sustainability?” Speaker’s Corner, held November 18-20, 2008. Nearly 200 participants from over 40 countries participated in this discussion hosted by GreenMicrofinance, allowing participants to connect and learn about each other's activities.
Why Women's Rights Are the Cause of our Time
New York Times Magazine
August 23, 2009
WHY DO MICROFINANCE organizations usually focus their assistance on women? And why does everyone benefit when women enter the work force and bring home regular pay checks? One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor — especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we’ve come across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn’t afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week.
Reflection on the NY Times Article....
WHY IS MICROFINANCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT important to women today? How can micro-finance be used for Energy Meeting Women's Needs?
Barh Koh ESDA in Chad approaches poverty relief through environmental protection, working to provide environmentally safe alternative energy sources to the disadvantaged inhabitants and refugees in the region of Maro in southern Chad. The group's focuses on cooking and indoor lighting, to help reduce dependence on firewood, thereby reducing deforestation.
Their plan of action shows the many ways clean technology can transform life in off-grid villages - providing power and preserving habitat. It's always good to read about clean energy's impact on the ground! As a northern city dweller, protection from reptiles is not something I've ever needed to contend with! (#3)
1) Providing solar cookers/ovens to poor rural families.
Solar cookers cost approximately $40 while solar ovens are in the vicinity of $300; which constitute a very small investment to help relieve poverty and save the environment at the same time. Solar cookers and stoves are safe; they cause no danger of fire, burns or smoke inhalation associated with wood burning.
2) Providing solar lanterns for poor families and students. A set of two solar lanterns can cost around $40 to $60, including shipping and handling. Solar lanterns are eco-friendly and will reduce the risks of fire hazards associated with kerosene lamps and firewood burning. A solar lantern will also enable a rural student to study and do homework after sunset. Solar lanterns also provide indoor lighting in the otherwise dark rural dwellings.
3) Providing solar flashlights to poor families and students. A single solar flashlight could save lives in a rural family that spends its evenings and nights in perpetual darkness, subject to all sorts of insects, reptiles and other elements. A solar-powered flashlight costs between $20 to $30 and can make a significant difference in a rural villager's life.
(H/T to DevelopmentCrossing).
Teasing out the meaning of "sustainable microfinance"
"There is nothing intrinsic about microfinance that makes it green. The author’s assertion is simply incorrect and ’sustainable’ in the business sense does not necessarily equate to environmental sustainability. A microentrepreneur may use chemicals that are bad for the environment, they may use farming techniques that create run-off, they may cook on inefficient stoves, they may use mobile phones that are difficult to recycle, and they may drive taxis that spew pollutants into the air. It will take a concerted effort by microfinance providers to adopt and enforce environmental lending criteria into the approval process and they will need to work more closely with environmentalists and green technology providers for there to be a significant role for microfinance in improving the environment. I am all for this."
- Elizabeth Wallace
On June 10th, GreenMicrofinance’s William Yager, Director of Sustainable Microenterprise Development, participated in the panel, “How MFIs and Their Clients Can Have a Positive Impact on the Environment,” moderated by Muhammad Yunus at the 2009 Latin America-Caribbean Regional Microcredit Summit in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Upon his safe return, Bill imparts his experience and reflections from the conference:
GMf: What are some of the key underlying ideas reinforced by the Colombia Summit?
WY: This particular context was not emphasized during the conference, but kept coming to mind as I listened to a truly remarkable succession of presenters. The background data are stark and unforgiving – the absolute number of poor is actually growing, since more than nine out of every ten births occur in what we know as the "third world"; to call it the "developing" world is, in most cases, truly euphemistic. Global aid programs are overwhelmed. In the wake of the global economic crisis perpetrated by the rich, giving has been reduced dramatically. The poor suffer inordinately in such an atmosphere and have no power to affect their fate. Income (if there is any) is down and prices are up drastically. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider, illustrating decisively the human capacity for delusion and short-term self-aggrandizement.
Nevertheless, microentrepreneurship, and the enabling support of microfinance institutions, has emerged from the periphery to the mainstream, not only contributing substantially to country economies but also contributing immeasurably more to human well-being.
GMf: How do you see microenterprise development as a tool in combating global poverty and having a positive impact on the environment?
WY: As outlined elsewhere, microenterprises have the potential to enhance self-esteem, intellectual development, discipline and a spiritual connectedness, as well as economic self-sustainability. For those who may not have the entrepreneurial bent, there is the new potential of employment in successful and hopefully growing enterprises.
This phenomenon of microenterprise as a powerful tool in combating global poverty was given significant impetus by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. We were indeed privileged to have Professor Yunus as a plenary speaker at several sessions and especially to have him as the chair of our panel on "How MFIs and Their Clients Can Have a Positive Impact on the Environment." The audience was swelled at least as much to be in his presence as to absorb more on the topic.
Professor Yunus, in his characteristically succinct style, said that our polluted environment is "a mess" created by humans, and in need of human innovation to solve the problem.
Consequently, the relevance of the mission of GreenMicrofinance is undeniable.
GMf: What thoughts do you have now as you reflect on meeting those at the conference who are dedicated to microenterprise development as an answer to ending poverty?
WY: On reflection, I would leverage that diagnosis to include global poverty as well. The greed and thinly disguised motivations of the wealthy have continued to marginalize and exploit the poor. The inescapable conclusion is that the stubbornly elusive solution to poverty lies within the human capacity not only for compassion and empathy, but perhaps more importantly for the justice and empowerment that can come from microenterprise development.
Beyond hope, the tangible implementation of real progress was palpable in this group of dedicated people from all over the world. The conference participants seemed to be bathed in a vision for the future – that poverty could actually be eliminated. Their reported experience on the ground was striking, yet they actually entertained the feasibility of ending the phenomenon, having existed for all of recorded history, called poverty…
The unleashing of the human spirit and tapping of fundamental human potential will leapfrog anything that anyone thought possible. What a gift to be sitting among over a thousand of like-minded individuals, from at least 47 countries, many of whom experienced over long periods of time, in the trenches working directly with the poor, with all the frustrations and realism that test anyone’s idealistic commitment! The Summit was goal oriented, experienced, realistic, and without platitudes – inspiring.
(Please see Sarah Ban's blog post on June 18!)
Portfolios of the Poor How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day
By Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutheford, & Orlanda Ruthven
Princeton University Press
Indispensable for those in development studies, economics, and microfinance, Portfolios of the Poor will appeal to anyone interested in knowing more about poverty and what can be done about it.
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