In June of 2019 Triple Jump organized and hosted a meeting of the Green Inclusive Finance Expert Group of NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance. The group, consisting of representatives of FMO, Oikocredit, Lendahand, Triodos, and Triple Jump, gathered to discuss our shared challenges and opportunities in the access-to-energy (A2E) sector.
The working group was started in 2015 with the goal of ‘greening’ the activities of the financial intermediaries of our portfolios, which aligned with the founding mandate of NpM. Over the past few years, it became increasingly apparent that this was only part of the story. As A2E companies began to play a larger role in our portfolios, we felt that it was time to broaden our efforts to better manage and measure their environmental footprint.
Examples of these companies include M-KOPA, whose co-founder, Chad Larson, attended the expert group meeting and provided insights into how his company has grown into a major provider of solar home systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our expert group activities, however, will focus on the full range of companies involved in A2E value chain, such as commercial and industrial energy providers, mini-grid developers, and financial intermediaries.
The working group’s core principle is that collaboration creates positive sum games. As happened in microfinance, by aligning on metrics and standards, reporting burden is reduced for investees, analyses become comparable, and industry benchmarks can be set. Another likely area of focus for the expert group will be creating an engagement platform, on which co-investment and joint TA opportunities can be openly shared.
The A2E space has been around for a while, but there is still a lot to learn and to develop, as the sector further professionalizes, companies specialize and business models evolve, questions about vertical integration vs. specialization arise, and challenges like last mile distribution and e-waste remain. Our belief is that by working together and pooling intellectual and financial resources, we can better manage and maximize the impact created for all stakeholders.
For Triple Jump, our interest in this working group stems from our ongoing engagement with sector-related investees and the upcoming impact fund, the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund (EEGF), which will provide equity, mezzanine, and debt financing to early-stage A2E companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Fund’s impact goals include increasing access to clean energy for underserved communities and businesses, greenhouse gas emissions avoidance, job creation, income generation, and gender equality. For more information, please contact [email protected].