A little about us

Oikocredit EDCS U.A. (“Oikocredit”) is an international co-operative and one of the world's oldest, leading social impact investors.

History

Some of the earliest known pioneers of social impact investing were philanthropists intent on helping people into trade and out of charitable hand-outs and poverty. During the 20th century most social investors were faith-based organisations, innovating to expand their social missions.

Such were the beginnings of Oikocredit, born amidst the political unrest of the 1970s. Oikocredit was initiated by the World Council of Churches who sought a socially responsible investment channel that would enable organisations and individuals to invest their money for positive development – an idea that in the 1970s was radical for its time. From these early ecumenical roots, Oikocredit has become one of the oldest and largest social impact investors in the world.

Investment areas

Using investors' capital, Oikocredit dedicates itself to improving the livelihoods of people and communities in low-income and developing countries so that they can create their own path out of poverty.  It therefore provides loans, equity and other investments to revenue-generating, mid-growth partner organisations that are focused on development and can show a clear social/environmental impact.  Oikocredit’s primary investment sectors include:

  • Inclusive Finance (€ 735.3 million): Around 2 billion people in the world lack access to basic financial services.  Oikocredit targets this issue by providing loans and equity investment to social and microfinance institutions (MFIs) in low-income and developing countries (e.g.KWFT Kenya).
  • Agriculture, incl. fair trade and organic produce (€ 113.3 million): Around ¾ of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas, relying on agricultural activities to meet their daily needs. Oikocredit supports these groups by providing financing to agricultural businesses, producers, suppliers, fair trade cooperatives and procurers (e.g. Divine Chocolate, Cafédirect) in order to create greater resilience and fairer, more robust value chains.
  • Renewable Energy (€ 15.9 million): World-wide,millions of people still lack access to clean, affordable energy.Oikocredit therefore invests in enterprises that provide renewable energy in underserved regions in a way that is economically, socially and foremost environmentally sustainable (e.g.BBOXX).

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

As at 31 December 2015, Oikocredit had € 1 billion in total assets, € 900.2 million in development financing, 809 social enterprise partners, and 51,000 individual and institutional investors.  See our key figures.