Question (Bart De Bruyne): Do MFIs start paying enough attention to ecological aspects and what can e-MFP do?
Answer Geert Jan Schuite: Some practitioners are a bit puzzled about the role of microfinance in greening the economy. While financial and social sustainability are key priority areas, how to deal with the environmental dimension of finance? At this e-MFP conference already two workshops were held about the topic: one focused on practitioners and networks, and one around investors. It appears that clean energy solutions (solar power, energy efficiency, biogas, etc) become mainstream - products and services are tested and implemented, and successes were presented by MFIs in Latin America and Asia. At the same time, a more integrated strategic approach to a full triple bottom line model is still uncommon. Climate change and environmental degradation affect the poor, and most stakeholders agree that the microfinance sector has to deal with this reality. A green e-MFP working group works towards designing measures for a full-fledged approach. Green microfinance is here to stay and the working group to continue its efforts.