We focus on inclusive finance, agriculture and renewables

Oikocredit offers an social impact investment opportunity for individuals and organisations in Europe and North America.  At the same time, we use this capital to provide equity and loan investments to revenue-generating enterprises that are focused on positive outcomes in low-income countries across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central & Eastern Europe. 

40 years and over €2bn worth of development finance disbursed

For over 40 years we have disbursed development finance to partners who reach the most disadvantaged communities in the world. Our current investment activities focus on three key areas; inclusive finance, smallholder agriculture and clean, affordable energy.

Inclusive Finance Partners

In 2015, around 80% of Oikocredit’s development financing portfolio (€ 735.3 million million) was invested in microfinance institutions, social cooperatives; non-banking financial institutions; banks offering diverse financial products; small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME), and wholesale funds. 

These inclusive finance partners work with financially-excluded individuals and groups of borrowers to help them save and borrow responsibly

In 2014, around 37 million people were reached with finance and other support from Oikocredit’s inclusive finance partners. 86% of these were women and 50% were from rural communities.

Production and Services Partners

In 2015, the remaining 20% of Oikocredit’s development finance portfolio was directly invested in productions and services partners including 

  • Agricultural producers and importers, cooperatives, renewable energy ventures and their surrounding infrastructure: schools, educational institutions and hospitals. 
  • Renewable energy ventures which provide affordable, clean energy to underserved communities around the world.

These social enterprises help to foster sustainable activities and income for people and their families so that they can improve their standards of living – particularly housing, healthcare and education for their children.

Agriculture

Helping people who rely on the land is increasingly central to our mission, given that three quarters of the world’s poorest people live in rural, often remote, areas[1]. Many of these, from farmers to seasonal workers, rely on small-scale agricultural activities to meet their daily needs.

Seasonal agriculture can be highly unpredictable, even more so in the face of unpredictable weather patterns brought about by climate change. Vital finance and insurance products to mitigate against floods, droughts and hurricanes are almost non-existent. And there is frequently a lack of knowledge about new farming techniques and preventative measures. Markets dominated by large commercial players can also result in uneven competition and unfair prices for farmers.

Oikocredit therefore provides financing across the small-scale agricultural value chain in low-income countries. This includes farmer organisations and agri-processing companies working with smallholder farmers. It also covers small trade organisations wishing to scale up, as well as social enterprises procuring Fairtrade produce from developing countries, such as Divine Chocolate, Cafedirect, People Tree and Twin Trading in the UK.

By supporting such organisations, Oikocredit contributes to building robust markets and value chains so that these organisations and rural communities in low-income countries can become sustainable.

In 2014, around 45% of Oikocredit’s production & services partners held a Fairtrade certification, with many also holding organic, Rainforest Alliance and other certifications. Oikocredit has been a member of the International Fairtrade Association for more than 20 years, supporting its social justice mission: 

  • Fair payments to producers and employees
  • Anti-child labour policies
  • Long-term trading relationships
  • Environmentally sustainable production methods

[1] The World Bank (2013)

Renewables

Renewable energy is critical to combatting the highest CO2 levels for 650,000 years. At the same time, demand for access to clean, renewable energy is growing at an accelerated rate in underserved low-income regions of the world. In 2015, for example, 50% of the Indian population (about 600 million people) still had no access to lighting.  

By making both large and small investments in renewables, Oikocredit aims to help meet this growing demand in a way that is economically, socially and foremost environmentally sustainable.

Our renewable energy portfolio is built around infrastructure projects that provide clean energy to the electric grid via solar (PV), wind, and small hydropower, ventures.  A typical investment size for these projects is € 2m -€ 15m. 

Oikocredit also finances ‘distributed clean power generation’ projects, where the electricity (or heat) is generated at the location where it is used.  These projects are small when measured in power capacity or capital outlay, but can be very significant when measured in environmental and social impacts. 

Oikocredit has set a target to invest € 50 million by the end of 2016 in renewable energy. Projects will focus on helping to supply people in remote villages with light and power so that the benefits of renewable energy can reach the people who need it most. 

Plus Capacity Building Activities

Oikocredit supplements its investments with capacity-building donations (Oikocredit's FinancePlus model).  This is raised from investors (via dividend contributions) and supporting institutions. These donations are used to enhance the technical skills of partners and their end clients (end beneficiaries), whilst helping to reduce portfolio risk.

We also take an active governance role in the companies we partner with, sharing advice, contacts and expertise in environmental, social and governance requirements.