In recent years, Hivos has supported the greening of the microfinance industry as new global issues emerged, such climate change, which have led Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to reconsider their position and tackle environmental issues. Many have decided to continue pursuing their financial and social objectives, while also contributing positively to environmental concerns.
In order to size up the national and international microfinance industry and discuss its future, the Costa Rican Network of Microenterprise Organizations (Redcom) organized the “Greening Microfinance: trends, challenges and sustainability” forum. The event was held in San José, Costa Rica on July 18 and 19, 2013.
Hivos has long been a pioneer in microfinance. Along with our long-term partners, we have focused on MFIs that address climate change and environmental degradation, food insecurity in rural areas, and the poverty and gender issues affecting access to finance.
Hivos partners Redcamif, BUN-CA, FDL and CEDECO were invited to participate as panelists in three of the four roundtable discussions thanks to their unique experience in greening microfinance.
At the first roundtable, ‘Microfinance industry in the region and its contribution to the development of green economy”, Redcamif director Iván Gutiérrez spoke about the work they have been doing throughout Central America, promoting the funding of sustainable production in rural areas. At present, Redcamif is working with Hivos’ support to develop a unique Regional Rural Green Finance Program.
Jose María Blanco of BUN-CA, a panelist in the second roundtable, ‘Market trend in green business and design opportunities for microfinance products’, outlined some of the greatest microfinance opportunities for financing low-power energy technologies for domestic and comercial uses. Julio Flores of the Local Develoment Fund in Nicaragua (FDL) presented their most recent experiment in developing new financial products with less vulnerability to climate change, which is supported by the EcoMicro Programme, also a Hivos partner.
Gabriel Rodríguez of CEDECO and Hivos Program Officer Pablo Alvarez participated in the panel, ‘Risk mitigation of climate change effects on the microfinance market’. Both shared their knowledge on carbon market opportunities to finance agricultural systems resilient to climate change.