In a groundbreaking effort to propel India towards a greener and more inclusive financial future, the Green Indian Financial System (GIFS) Initiative, founded by SIDBI, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), and the French Development Agency (AFD), hosted its annual theme discussion on “Strengthening Green Financing and Mainstreaming Gender” on January 23, 2024, in Mumbai. The event brought together Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and stakeholders to deliberate on recent developments in green finance and the pivotal role of gender inclusion in shaping India’s financial landscape.
Established in 2021, GIFS has been at the forefront of shaping discussions on greening the financial ecosystem and implementing sustainable practices within Indian institutions. The primary objective of the event was to provide updates on regulations, schemes, and tools developed between 2022 and 2023, contributing to the greening of the Indian financial system. Furthermore, the event served as a platform to showcase GIFS achievements, its capitalization efforts, and the introduction of the upcoming “Greening the Finance-to-Finance Green” (G2FG) Technical Assistance platform for MSMEs and financial institutions.
The focus of the event extended beyond just green finance to include the Greening of Finance by Women (GroW), a professional network dedicated to women in climate finance. Mr. Prakash Kumar, Deputy Managing Director of SIDBI, kicked off the event with an opening remark, providing a comprehensive introduction to the GIFS Initiative. Ms. Kruthika Jerome of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation introduced the GroW summit, which featured women entrepreneurs sharing their experiences in securing credit for green investments.
The Policy Perspective on Climate Financing Landscape India session featured notable speakers from various sectors, shedding light on developments in the banking sector and regulatory frameworks. Notable figures included Mr. Sivasubramanian Ramann, CMD of SIDBI; Mr. Sunil Nair, CGM of RBI; Mr. V Chandrasekar, Senior Advisor at IBA; and Mr. P Shyam Sunder, Joint Director at BEE, Ministry of Power.
Eminent speakers, including Mr. Nitin Desai, Member of the Board at SSEF; Mr. Audrey Brulé – Françoise, Deputy Head Financial Systems Division at AFD; and Mr. Sivasubramanian Ramann, CMD of SIDBI, provided insights into GIFS’ achievements and its role in shaping India’s financial landscape.
Mr. Sivasubramanian Ramann emphasized that digitization and greening are top priorities for SIDBI, aligning with the national net-zero mandate. He highlighted the strategic approach of building synergy, networks, platforms, and financing models to foster a green enterprise ecosystem. Mr. Sunil Nair of RBI discussed the financing framework and the need for transition finance, emphasizing the importance of understanding regional and national financing requirements.
Ms. Audrey Brulé of AFD underscored the importance of gender mainstreaming in green financing, praising GIFS and GroW as trendsetters with global influence. She emphasized the need to embed gender considerations into green financing to leverage the immense potential that women bring to strengthen the enterprise ecosystem.
The event also featured insights from industry leaders such as Mr. Rajiv Chawla, Chairman of IamSMEofIndia; Mr. Anil Bhardwaj, Secretary General of FISME; and Ms. Madhu Tyagi, Board Member of COWE India, who shared their companies’ green aspirations and experiences in accessing climate finance.
Experts from various organizations, including Mr. Dhruba Purkayastha, Director of CPI; Mr. Vivek Adhia, Associate Director of BCG; Ms. Neha Kumar, Climate Bond Initiative; Mr. Shubhashis Dey, Director of SSEF; and Mr. Mukund Govind Rajan, Chairperson of ECube Investment Advisors, provided valuable insights on key takeaways from the G20 Presidency for the Indian financial sector and perspectives on COP28 messages in the Indian context.
The event concluded with a panel discussion on “The Nexus of Women and Green Finance across Stakeholders,” featuring Ms. Ekta Mehra, Senior Sector Specialist at KFW; Ms. Smitha Hari, President of AuctusESG; and Ms. Shruti Srivastava, Investment Director at Avaana Capital. The panel, moderated by Ms. Neetu Chitkara, MD & Partner at BCG, delved into the intersection of women and green finance.
In summary, the GIFS & GroW annual theme discussion marked a significant milestone in fostering knowledge exchange, training, and networking among finance practitioners, contributing to a resilient and green future for India. SIDBI’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and gender inclusion continues to play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s financial landscape. The event showcased the collaborative efforts of GIFS and GroW in spearheading a pioneering initiative towards a greener and more gender-inclusive financial ecosystem in India.