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Nov 21
2013

UNDP Clean Start - Microfinance Opportunities for A Clean Energy Future

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

 

Clean Start

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. 

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 05
2013

Farming in Africa

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

IF POTENTIAL were edible, Africa would have the best-fed people on earth. 

The vast continent has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, most of it unfarmed. The land already under cultivation, mostly by small farmers, could produce far more. Crop yields in Africa are between one-third and one-half of the global average. The quality of soil is often poor, because of overfarming, but that could be fixed by fertilisers. With the right know-how and inputs, Africa’s farmers could double productivity.

Read entire article...Economist 

 

Sep 04
2013

Microfinance Needs Better Policies to Safeguard the Environment

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel
Hult Social Entrepreneurship By Hult Social Entrepreneurship | May 6th, 2013

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?  

microfinance

 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."
Mar 07
2011

Ecological Sustainability, Peace and Social Justice are Inextricably Connected

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

              Haiti 2010
  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. 

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.”

Oct 21
2009

"Microfinance and Climate Change" USAID Forum Summary by Betsy Teutsch

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

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.

Energy-Efficient Cookstove

Oct 08
2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch

Boy who harnessed-3Dcover on white

William Kamkwamba, raised in a village in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries. He dropped out of school at age 14 due to famine - his family was forced to choose between food or school for their son.  He poured through books at a local mini-library, and - inspired by a picture of a windmill - set to work fabricating one from salvaged objects.  A new book chronicles his story.  Now 22, he is featured on none other than Jon Stewart - check him out!

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arD374MFk4w 400x300]

Sep 02
2009

World's Poor are the Most Vulnerable Victims of Global Warming

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch

Some headlines just fail to surprise, like the recent one announcing that "low income workers are often cheated out of their wages."  Unfortunately, the fact that global warming's greatest impacts are on the world's poor is not really news; we at GMf are well aware of this terrible truth.  But this recent article in mainstream USA Today sums the situation up well:

   Global warming will fall heaviest on the desperately poor, finds a study of agricultural economics.

Released this week in Environmental Research Letters, the study led by Syud Ahmed of The World Bank in Washington, D.C., looked at the economic impacts of increases in atmospheric temperatures and climate variability, droughts, floods and storms, projected for the last three decades of this century across 16 developing nations. They based the estimate on the economic effects of similar weather in those places from 1970 to 2000.

"We find that extremes under present climate volatility increase poverty across our developing country sample -- particularly in Bangladesh, Mexico, Indonesia, and Africa -- with urban wage earners the most vulnerable group," write the authors. "We also find that global warming exacerbates poverty vulnerability in many nations."

Farmers in poor nations actually see their wages increase under global warming, says study co-author Noah Diffenbaugh of Purdue University, as the price of grain goes higher in nations experiencing more drought, but city dwellers, who spend much of their income on food, do worse.

The study fed projections of climate effects in two future scenarios produced by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report into its economic forecasts. One was a hot, "business as usual", scenario, with industrial emissions of greenhouse gases continuing unabated into the future. The other was a "low emissions" model with limited emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere. Poverty was worse in the high-emissions model, Diffenbaugh says.

"IPCC identified the poor, the elderly, and the very young as the most vulnerable categories of people on the planet ... regardless of location, as Katrina and the European (2003) heat wave taught us," says economics professor Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University, an author of the IPCC report. "Nonetheless, the most vulnerable are more likely to live in developing countries where they face multiple stresses.  For many, climate change itself is a source of multiple stress because it is manifest in so many different ways."

However, climate scientist David Battisti of the University of Washington in Seattle is critical of the study, explaining by email that "the climate models do a poor job at simulating rainfall in many places...As well, the climate models do an extremely poor job at estimating natural variability and extreme events in temperature and precipitation. In particular, they overestimate the variability in summertime temperature and extreme events. Without correcting for these biases -- which are ubiquitous in the climate models -- it is very likely that the extreme event information input into the impact models is grossly exaggerated," Battisti says.

But Diffenbaugh notes that the poor in developing countries, who live on less that a dollar a day, have been vulnerable historically to climate swings, as seen in the study's look at numbers from the 20th century. "These folks are already vulnerable to climate, so climate 'change' seems unlikely to make things better for them."

By Dan Vergano

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