EIF, SME Bank bag award
The Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards honours financial institutions and organisations with significant contributions to the field of sustainable finance.
Specifically, the category of “Best Innovation in Sustainable Financial Products & Services”, in which the Environmental Investment Fund and SME Bank ended as runner-ups, seeks to recognise outstanding success in financial products and services that balance the 3 Ps (People, Planet, Profits). Winners in this category will have applied innovative approaches in embedding sustainability in lending and or deposit products and other financial services that advance the transformation to low carbon and sustainable economy.
The Environmental Investment Fund launched the Green Soft Loans financing product in collaboration with the SME Bank of Namibia in September 2013. The scheme is a soft lending mechanism seeking to redress the cost barrier to acquiring renewable technologies. This credit facility makes it possible for qualifying individuals to obtain loans to purchase and install renewable energy technologies such as Solar Home Systems, energy efficient technologies, solar water heaters, solar water pumps, LPG gas devices, and conversions for vehicles to LPG systems.
Environmental Investment Fund’s Director of Operations, Karl Aribeb, attributed the relative success of the scheme to the working relationship between the Environmental Investment Fund and SME Bank and commitment to the interest rate concessions as stipulated in the 5 year agreement between the two institutions. Said Aribeb, “In total, an amount of N$1,621,989 in loans has been approved in the first 8 months since inception, benefiting close to 101 Namibians or [23 households]”.
“The Environmental Investment Fund/SME Bank green financing model sparked an extensively positive debate around the issues of affordability and impact and we have taken all the positives out of the engagement in order to improve our product offering further to drive real change,” Aribeb said.