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Sep 13
2013

GreenMicrofinance Promotes Green Microfinance

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

GreenMicrofinance

We at GreenMicrofinance™ (GMf™) have been promoting environmentally sustainable microfinance since 2002. 


GMf is a pioneer advocate for the accommodation of sustainable environmental practices within the financial sector, which distinctly involves micro, small and medium enterprises.

Guiding Principles 
http://www.greenmicrofinance.org/Resource-Library/Guiding-Principles/Guiding-Principles
GreenMicrofinance Publications
http://www.greenmicrofinance.org/Activities/GMf-Publications/GMf-Publications

Zimbabwe: Microfinance Goes Green 

It is wonderful to read the Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions are hosting the Green Microfinance Conference 2013.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201309130727.html
Oct 09
2011

Center for Green Excellenceâ„¢

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

 

GreenMicrofinance 
Center for Green Excellence™ 


GreenMicrofinance Center (GMfC™) is our legally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Under this umbrella we have created the Center for Green Excellence.  Our mission remains the same.

Our mission is to address climate change and environmental justice by providing education and sharing knowledge on microfinance and environment - The Missing Bottom Line.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May we, like this beautiful bamboo structure by Architect Simon Velez, not sway or collapse, but continue on with steel-like strength.  May we together address climate change with speed and sequester carbon, restore our land, and create beauty from the gifts of the earth.  Like the woven reeds, all of us our intertwined.  May we strive for excellence on this earth.  

 


 

Sep 26
2011

Wangari Maathai... Nobel Laureate and Green Belt Movement Founder

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel
We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!”
Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)  
Kenyan Environmentalist and Nobel Laureate 
  Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai. Courtesy of the Green Belt Movement

Wangari Maathai is best known for founding the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in 1977. The initiative empowered rural women by getting them engaged in management and protection of forests. Over the past three decades, the Green Belt Movement has planted tens of millions of trees across Kenya and trained thousands of women in agroforestry, bee-keeping, and other sustainable livelihoods.   For her efforts, in 2004 Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The award further boosted her status as one of the most prominent voices in the increasingly global movement to involve local communities in the management and conservation of forests. 

Read Entire Article...Courtesy of www.mongabay.com 
September 26, 2011

Jun 23
2011

Branching Out for A Green Economy

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

In celebration of the launch of UNEP's Green Economy Report: This short animated film highlights the role forests can play in national development, a green economy and climate change. The film also reviews the impact of forest on business as usual and on transformative solutions. Narrated by David Attenborough.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsxIDmYfQPU&feature=player_detailpage 600x363]

Dec 16
2009

Why Aren't Improved Cook Stoves Selling Like Hotcakes?

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Tagged in: Technology , Energy  , Carbon Offsets

Betsy Teutsch

Our friends at GVEP, the Global Village Energy Partnership, have published an extensive series of papers, edited by Allesandra Moscadelli, that explore why adoption of Improved Cookstoves, with so many benefits - lower fuel use = lower cost, less smoke inhalation, lower emissions, lessened deforestation - have been slow to catch on.

To read the whole paper, you'll need to sign on to their site, or click here.

Dec 04
2009

Carbon-Neutral Biofuels - Addressing Climate Change and Microfinance

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

USAID MicroLinks Note from the Field

Honduras: Blending Finance, Technology, and Training to Encourage Responsible Growth


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.”

May 12
2009

MicrofinanceGatewayTells the World about Environment and Microfinance

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch

 

Donors and investors can build capacity for green microfinance by providing necessary technical assistance and by supporting environmentally sustainable microfinance projects. For example, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) has developed evaluation criteria and tools to help MFI's assess and manage the social and environmental impacts and risks of microenterprises. CIDA has also produced an Environmental Sourcebook for MFIs. IFC, Triodos, Calvert, Shell Foundation, and EBRD are among other donors who are including the environmental bottom line on their agenda.

In this article, we explore some of the eco-microfinance initiatives promoted today, such as:

  • Green microenterprises
  • Renewable energy entrepreneurship
  • Carbon credit aggregation

Green microenterprises

Eco-friendly microenterprises can provide sustainable sources of income to microfinance clients, including the production of organic fertilizers and biomass charcoal briquettes, clean energy cookstove fabrication, and handicrafts made from sustainably sourced materials. Various industry standards, from groups like the Forest Stewardship Council, provide guidelines on “sustainable sourcing.”

MFIs that deal with agricultural clients can seek partners that will help clients adapt to evolving conditions through the adoption of environmentally-friendly farming techniques. Organizations, such as Sustainable Harvest International, help by providing key technical support. Subsidy can also play a positive role as clients shift their approach to a more eco-friendly standard.

Engaging in environmentally sound business practices can:

  • Help microentrepreneurs preserve and protect their long-term income
  • Protect the health of communities
  • Lower overhead for microenterprises
  • Enable MFIs to invest in a growing market that meshes well with the agendas of triple-bottom line investors.

Cooking over a wood fireRenewable energy entrepreneurship

Microfinance clients often use fossil fuels like natural gas and petroleum as sources of energy. These fuel sources contribute to the greenhouse gas problem, the degradation of local ecosystems, and cause health problems. Implementing renewable energy systems, like solar, wind, and biogas can offer great cost savings, as well as health benefits. MFIs offering personal consumption “energy loans” can help microfinance clients leverage these resources for their homes and businesses.

Renewable energy can also be a source of income for a new class of business – renewable energy microenterprises. Social and environmental entrepreneurs from the industrialized world are helping to create this microentrepreneurship opportunity. For example, Barefoot Power is a socially-conscious business that employs microentrepreneurs to distribute solar-powered products and systems in the developing world.

Grameen Shakti is a nonprofit with the mission of eliminating energy poverty with renewable-energy entrepreneurs. They support programs in solar energy, biogas, and improved cookstoves, which include training and capacity building for entrepreneurs who promote the systems, as well as financial products tailored for renewable energy uptake. In the micro-utility model, one entrepreneur will install a solar system and sell power to those in the community who cannot yet afford to invest in their own.

In the fieldCarbon credit aggregation

Carbon credit aggregators, like MicroEnergy Credits and E + Co, work with MFIs that provide renewable energy loans to clients. Each loan can be translated into a small carbon credit. Though these credits are too small to be traded on the multi-million or billion dollar carbon markets created by the Kyoto Protocol, aggregators bundle these credits and then sell them on the voluntary carbon market to net polluters. Carbon credit aggregation offers:

  • Financial rewards for MFIs that provide energy loans, creating an incentive to continue greening products
  • A better standard of living, and more control over energy resources, for clients who switch to renewable sources of energy for their homes or businesses
  • Business opportunities for microentrepreneurs who supply renewable energy services or systems

Conclusion

The conventional path of economic development has tied greater prosperity to increased energy consumption, with its corresponding negative environmental impact. This does not have to be the case. MFIs can contribute, along with their clients, to solving the crises we face today. Microfinance clients continue to be impacted by global climate change and environmental degradation, but we are also seeing that they can be part of the way forward.

 

Apr 08
2009

CGAP Report on Microfinance and Climate Change

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Congratulations GGAP on a MUST READ!

...for the April 2 Report on Greening Microfinance: Clients and the Climate of Change

With environmental challenges-from drought to flooding-disproportionately affecting poor people's livelihoods, microfinance institutions have a strong incentive to mitigate the risks of climate change while helping their clients adapt to that change, argues Paul Rippey, the author of the latest report from CGAP on microfinance and climate change.

...to Paul Rippey, on the well-written article,  Microfinance and Climate Change: Threats and Opportunities.   Great work, Paul!

"Within microfinance, the word ‘sustainable' has tended to be used in a very narrow way, mainly referring to institutions that are financially viable," says Rippey. "But just as many MFIs have added social performance to their bottom line, they should also consider how their actions-and those of their clients-can help combat climate change."

Thank you, CGAP, for making mention of GMf in the Report and as an Additional Resource on your Feature page.  

Feb 26
2009

World Economic Forum: Green Investing

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel



Recently the World Economic Forum in Davos released a new study on Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy InfrastructureIn the study it states that "two billion people worldwide have no access to modern fuels and 1.6 billion have no access to electricity. In addition, hundreds of millions more live in areas with unreliable grids and experience regular outages disrupting light, water pumps and other essential functions".
GreenMicrofinance was listed in the study as one of eight global organizations "working on innovative ways of using microfinance to provide clean energy in developing countries". (p.21)


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