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Webinar | Responsible finance and sustainability: The importance of lending and investing with care for environmental and social impacts

May 20, 2021 | Online

THE EIB WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA SME BANKING AND MICROFINANCE ACADEMY 2020-2021

Webinar series

Topic 5: Responsible finance and sustainability: Why lend and invest with care for environmental and social impacts

20 May 2021, 01 pm (Abidjan) / 02 pm (Cotonou, Paris, Frankfurt, Douala, Kinshasa)

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Introduction and background

Within the context of the European Investment Bank (EIB) TA Financial sector programme for West and Central Africa, Making Finance Work For Africa (MFW4A) and the IPC, Horus and IECD Consortium are hosting a series of webinars for banks and microfinance institutions operating in these regions.

This fifth webinar, will cover topics around sustainable and responsible finance and why they matter particularly in Africa. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the financial industry is "an important sector for increasing sustainability". There are several reasons for this.

First, financial institutions everywhere are an engine for financing economies, lending or investing in projects. For a long time, compliance with the law and profitability were the main drivers of financial institutions, which shareholders constantly expected. More recently however, sustainability and social impact have become important criteria due to a rising public awareness worldwide.

Second, financial institutions are impacting their environment and communities by the way they function, and treat their employees, their clients and their communities (including their suppliers). Increasingly, the private sector is urged to consider the role it plays in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, financial institutions should have policies and procedures promoting environmental friendly and fair/equitable financial services practices. Furthermore, they should set minimum standards to deal with customers and communities, and increase transparency to inform and empower consumers of financial services. This in turn will also positively impact their business and profitability as customers and investor are increasingly willing to award such behaviour.

Panellists would be invited to share their perspective on the following issues:

  • The key elements of Responsible Finance today
  • Approach of financial institutions in reducing negative environmental and social impacts
  • How financial institutions can develop a holistic environmental and social framework that actually has a positive impact, and is in compliance with relevant environmental and social regulations, best practices and commitments of their partners, donors and other international financial institutions (IFIs)?
  • How can responsible and sustainable finance impact the financial bottom line of Financial Institutions (FI)?

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes of this webinar session are as follows:

  • The audience will have an improved understanding on the characteristics of responsible finance, sustainability and the positive impacts hereof.
  • Participants will have gained insight on how financial institutions in the region can design financial products that take into account environmental and social considerations.
  • Participants will have broadened their understanding on how DFIs are supporting their partner local financial intermediaries in enhancing their environmental and social impact.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to advance suggestions and recommendations.

Event format and audience

The webinar will last about 75 minutes and will be held in French with simultaneous translation in English. It will combine presentations followed by a Q&A session provoking a panel discussion.

Speakers

Moderator: Emma-Jayne Paul (EIB) and Hugues Kamewe (MFW4A)

Introductory words: EIB regional office representative (TBC)

Panellists:

o Amelia Greenberg, Deputy Director of the Social Performance Taskforce (SPFT)
o An expert on microfinance 
o An expert from banks