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Sep 16
2013

GMf Advocates for Impact Investing: Investment with a Triple Bottom Line

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

GreenMicrofinance has been advocating for "Triple Bottom Line Investments" since 2004.  Today we see the importance of agriculture, biofuels, and clean energy as all having potential for "impact investing".  

Please see our publications on our on-line library.     

The following article may be of interest.    

In Mexico, investment with a social conscience

The latest trend in financing boasts a double or triple bottom line: returns, plus a solution to social or environmental problems.

“Impact investing” is the new buzzword in social development, an unlikely marriage between old-fashioned philanthropy and venture capitalism. The investment model, which considers the social and environmental benefits of a business venture on equal terms with its capacity to deliver return on investment, is being hailed as a way to direct more capital to solving problems in impoverished and marginalized communities.

Link to Article at Smart Planet

Photo: Flickr/David Flores


 

 

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
Sep 03
2013

Financing Agricultural Growth in Africa

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

 

Rockefeller Foundation Blog


 

 

Excerpted from This is AfricaDownload the full report.

Whether it is traditional bank lending or private equity, and from major agribusiness to microfinance, one theme stands out — a change in mindset is needed, in which African agriculture is seen as a business opportunity, not a charity sector.

“What we have seen is a shift towards agricultural development as an engine of economic growth so that agriculture can provide the resources for other sectors as well – for education, for health, for overall advancement,” says Gary Toenniessen at The Rockefeller Foundation. “And that requires private sector involvement to a much greater degree. If all you are trying to do is provide food relief, then that goes through governments and UN agencies. But if you really want economic growth then you need a private sector that is working across the agricultural value chain.”  

Jun 30
2011

Cracking the Nut Conference: GreenMicrofinance Joins "Financing Climate Smart Agriculture" Panel

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

The Cracking the Nut Conference in DC last week was excellent!   The aim was to accelerate the impact of the world’s leading rural and agricultural development and finance leaders by uniting them in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage and large scale change. The conference is named "Cracking the Nut," as rural and agricultural finance have long been tough nuts to crack. 

Downloadable Brochure

GreenMicrofinance was invited to join others during the Financing Climate Smart Agriculture Panel 

Facilitator: Mark Wenner (Inter-American Development Bank)
Panelists: Ademola Braimoh (World Bank), Elizabeth Israel (Green Microfinance), 
Chandula Abeywickrama (Hatton National Bank, Sri Lanka)

Photos
Panel Introduction (Mark Wenner)
Opening Remarks  (Ademola Braimoh) 
Panel Discussion (Mark, Chandula, Ademola, Elizabeth) 

Ademola Braimah, Senior Natural Resource Management Specialist at the World Bank, shared in his presentation that 
Climate Smart Agriculture Offers Triple Win

  • Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) addresses the challenges of food security, and climate mitigation and adaptation together, rather than in isolation.
 The CSA transition requires
  • Transformations in the management of soil, water and genetic resources to ensure higher productivity.

  • Maximizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs between productivity and emissions per unit of agricultural product.
Sep 03
2010

Power to the People...technology and development

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Tagged in: Technology , Solar , Poverty , Investments , Energy

Elizabeth Israel

Power to the People

Energy in the Developing World

Sept. 2 2010 THE ECONOMIST 

Technology and development: A growing number of initiatives are promoting bottom-up ways to deliver energy to the world’s poor .


Around 1.5 billion people, or more than a fifth of the world’s population, have no access to electricity, and a billion more have only an unreliable and intermittent supply. Of the people without electricity, 85% live in rural areas or on the fringes of cities. Extending energy grids into these areas is expensive: the United Nations estimates that an average of $35 billion-40 billion a year needs to be invested until 2030 so everyone on the planet can cook, heat and light their premises, and have energy for productive uses such as schooling. On current trends, however, the number of “energy poor” people will barely budge, and 16% of the world’s population will still have no electricity by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency....The developing world has an opportunity to leapfrog the centralised model, just as it leapfrogged fixed-line telecoms and went straight to mobile phones.


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.”

Jun 13
2009

Nobel Laureate 2006, Dr. Muhammad Yunus Joins Dr. William Yager at Microcredit Summit Colombia!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

MICROCREDIT SUMMIT CAMPAIGN CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

GreenMicrofinance has organized  four panels for the Microcredit Summit Campaign...
from Halifax, Chile, Bali and now Colombia! 
GreenMicrofinance appreciates the support of USAID, microLINKS, and the Microcredit Summit Campaign in collaborating with us over the past years in promoting 'environmentally sustainable microfinance'.




 
GreenMicrofinance Director, Dr. William Yager, joined Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate 2006,  on a panel focused on "microfinance and the environment" at the Microfinance Summit in Cartagena Colombia.  Dr. Yager, with the support of USAID, was one of the 1,000 delegates attending the Summit.

 

 Dr. Yunus chaired the panel, entitled "How MFIs and their Clients can have a Positive Impact on the Environment!"  
Dr. Yager commented on the environmental risks facing microfinance clients.  With a new paradigm shift, he emphasized that paying attention to the environment = enhanced productivity
Dr. Yunus closed the session with the following key points:   
 

  • Global Warming was created by us, we can solve it just by stopping what we are doing wrong.

  • The Poor are not the cause of Global Warming, they are the victims.

  • Technology is key. 

  • Government can do more harm: Subsidies stifle creativity and market sustainability, taxing ecological solutions.

               City Dump  - Guatemala                                                                   Hotel Waste Bio-gas Plants - India

Nobel Laureate 2006
Microcredit Summit Webcast - Colombia
microLINKS Blog - Colombia

May 22
2009

Find us in the May Environmental Issue of MicrofinanceFocus Magazine!

Posted by:

Two of our recent pieces -- the CGAP article "Microfinance and the Environmental Bottom Line" .

You can download the entire issue from MicrofinanceFocus' homepage, www.microfinancefocus.com

 

Many thanks to Vikash Kumar, Managing Editor & Executive Director of MicrofinanceFocus, for taking great interest in GreenMicrofinance and coordinating our participation in this issue. 

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.  

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