> Posted by Danielle Donza

Last night I saw a commercial advertising durable work boots that were lined with recycled plastic bottles. That is awesome, I thought, I love when green initiatives are also incredibly innovative.

Then, looking to get the creative, brainstorming juices flowing, I asked my boyfriend, “What else could we do to be more green?”

“You could take shorter showers,” he replied.

Whoa, hold on, that was not exactly the creativity I was hoping for, but a valid point nonetheless. Water is undoubtedly one of the most undervalued and (therefore?) wasted resources on the planet. Imagine how quick my showers would be if the price tag was ticking up like it does at the gas pump. And I applaud the efforts of Watercredit.org in working with microfinance institutions to meet the water and sanitation needs of clients in developing countries by offering WaterCredit loan products and lending models, and more.

Having recently returned from the Foromic in Costa Rica, I felt like there was a real buzz around green microfinance, perhaps influenced by Costa Rica’s goal to be the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. I was excited about a panel that provided more information on Mibanco’s PPP (people, planet, profit) Model in Peru, which emphasizes social, economic, and environmental performance.

I also know about trash pickers in India who maintain subsistence livelihoods recycling and trash, mainly out of necessity but still a green effort. I know many MFIs comply with the IFC’s exclusion list, educating their clients on the impacts of deforestation, and the harm that drift-net fishing and the use of explosives causes to the marine environment. And I know about the CFI’s Energy Links project, which catalyzed and helped build distribution networks to get tens of thousands of low-cost solar-powered LED lanterns to rural populations in Mali, Uganda, and Tanzania.

But now I’m asking you, microfinance community, “What else could we do to be more green?” Let’s dust off those thinking caps and really let the innovative juices flow. Let’s start brainstorming. Let’s encourage our clients to increasingly think: How could I make or save money while also saving the planet?

Image credit: Sproutecourse.org

Have you read?

Artisanal Solar Lamps

Barefoot Power Blinds Competition in Lighting Contest

Bloomberg Cites ‘Microfinance and Energy Poverty: Findings from the Energy Links Project’