Members of the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF), including Triodos Investment Management, have formally adopted a set of jointly developed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. These principles apply across the nine members’ loan portfolios, which in 2015 encompassed USD 597 million to 672 businesses purchasing crops and providing services to two million smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The ratification of these guiding principles is part of CSAF’s broader mission to promote responsible lending among financial institutions serving the needs of smallholder farmers and agricultural businesses globally.

Michaël van den Berg, Fund Manager of Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund; “Food and agriculture are at the centre of many of today’s global challenges - from food security and ecosystem preservation to rural livelihood and climate change. We very much welcome the adoption of the CSAF common ESG principles that are instrumental in ensuring a sustainable food and agriculture sector that meets the needs of present and future generations, while ensuring environmental health and social and economic equity for millions of smallholder farmers.

CSAF members will continue to employ their own proprietary policies and evaluation tools in conducting ESG due diligence on prospective investments. In addition, beginning this year they also commit to CSAF’s social and environmental principles with respect to borrowers’ ESG practices, including:

  • Exclusion of harmful ESG practices that are destructive to human well-being or the environment.
  • Pursuit of positive ESG practices beyond screening out borrowers with negative practices.
  • Promotion of continuous improvement of ESG practices among borrowers, lenders, and CSAF as a group to encourage socially and environmentally responsible operations and positive impacts.

The announcement was made following CSAF’s first Africa regional meeting, which took place on 2 February 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Click here for the full press release.    

About CSAF

Formally launched in 2014, CSAF provides a forum for agricultural lenders to convene on a pre-competitive basis and exchange learning, identify best practices, and develop industry standards around responsible lending practices. Members include: Alterfin, Global Partnerships, Incofin Investment Management, Oikocredit, Rabobank, responsAbility Investments AG, Root Capital, Shared Interest Society, and Triodos Investment Management.