Social entrepreneur Chetna Sinha today mooted the idea of bonds for raising funds to be invested in human capital specially focused on social and environmental issues. “Why can’t we have bonds that will raise capital for training people learn about soil and water conservation and all other such things,” she said. The founder of Mann Deshi Foundation was speaking at a session on impact investing here at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. The panelists, which also included Denmark Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Africa Development Bank President Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina and BlackRock Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand, discussed how to unlock private capital to scale social and environmental impact and accelerate progress on the social development goals (SDG). The Danish prime minister said his government is doing a lot on impact investing and will soon launch an SDG Fund. Adesina said all investments made by his bank take into account the social and environmental impact.
Narrating her experience, Sinha said rural women in India are very innovative who are making their financial decisions on the basis of social and environmental impact even without having ever heard about climate change or global warming. “I saw women wanted to do savings for drought days and at the same time they also wanted funding for their small businesses, so I decided to set up a women’s bank with no outside support. “There is access of funds from formal banking sector in India, but that is costly and we realised what we need is affordable finance and therefore we have set up a debt fund also, which is registered with the markets regulator SEBI,” Sinha said.
There are some obstacles as well but there can be innovative ways to get investments in areas that are key for securing our environment and society, said Sinha, who is one of the seven women co-chairs of the WEF Annual Meeting. The most important thing is to talk to the people concerned and understand them, she said while citing examples of how women in different parts of India have started innovative ventures at their level that serve the environment and society while earning income as well. PTI BJ ABM 01261721