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Why do microfinance institutions go green?


  • Marion Allet


In recent years, in addition to financial and social objectives, the microfinance industry has started to look at its environmental bottom line. The objective of this paper is to identify why microfinance institutions (MFIs) decide to go green. Data was collected through a quantitative survey of 160 MFIs and qualitative semi-structured interviews of 23 MFIs’ top managers. Basing our analysis on the model of ecological responsiveness developed by Bansal & Roth (2000), we discover that MFIs that are the most proactive in environmental management are primarily motivated by social responsibility, additionally by competitiveness, and to a lesser extent by legitimation (stakeholder pressure). MFIs for which legitimation is the dominant driver tend to adopt a defensive approach and set up more superficial negative strategies to appear green. In contrast, MFIs for which social responsibility is the dominant driver tend to be more proactive and innovative and develop adapted financial and non-financial services to promote environmentally-friendly practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Marion Allet, 2012. "Why do microfinance institutions go green?," Working Papers CEB 12-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/115102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Manuel Branco & Lúcia Rodrigues, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Resource-Based Perspectives," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 111-132, December.
    2. François Maon & Adam Lindgreen & Valérie Swaen, 2009. "Designing and Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility: An Integrative Framework Grounded in Theory and Practice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 71-89, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Forcella & Marek Hudon, 2014. "Green Microfinance in Europe," Working Papers CEB 14-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Lwanzo Lusambo, 2017. "On The Two-Way Relationship between Corporate Reputation and Financial Performance in Microfinance: A Stakeholder Approach," International Journal of Business and Management, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(11), pages 149-149, October.
    3. Akouvi Gadedjisso-Tossou & Curwitch P’ham Bodjona & Maman Tachiwou Aboudou & Jean-Pierre Gueyie, 2021. "The Influence of CSR Practices on the Financial Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Togo," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 13(2), pages 1-52, February.
    4. Marion Allet & Marek Hudon, 2015. "Green Microfinance: Characteristics of Microfinance Institutions Involved in Environmental Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 395-414, February.
    5. Lucky Nugroho & Wiwik Utami & Taufik Akbar & Willy Arafah, 2017. "The Challenges of Microfinance Institutions in Empowering Micro and Small Entrepreneur to Implementating Green Activity," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 7(3), pages 66-73.
    6. Sergio Manrique & Carmen-Pilar Martí-Ballester, 2017. "Analyzing the Effect of Corporate Environmental Performance on Corporate Financial Performance in Developed and Developing Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(11), pages 1-30, October.
    7. Francesca Bartolacci & Andrea Caputo & Michela Soverchia, 2020. "Sustainability and financial performance of small and medium sized enterprises: A bibliometric and systematic literature review," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 1297-1309, March.
    8. Gregor Dorfleitner & Eva-Maria Oswald & Rongxin Zhang, 2021. "From Credit Risk to Social Impact: On the Funding Determinants in Interest-Free Peer-to-Peer Lending," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 170(2), pages 375-400, May.
    9. Alberto Lanzavecchia & Maria Palumbo & Bharat Singh Thapa, 2021. "Climate Change And Microfinance: A Wake-Up Call For Policy Makers," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0268, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    10. Davide Forcella & Marek Hudon, 2016. "Green Microfinance in Europe," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 445-459, May.
    11. Marek Hudon & Marc Labie & Patrick Reichert, 2020. "What is a Fair Level of Profit for Social Enterprise? Insights from Microfinance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 627-644, March.
    12. Rafael Moser & Davide Forcella & Lauro Emilio Gonzales Farias, 2016. "Microfinance and climate change: threats and opportunities, the case of Brazil’s largest rural MFIs, Agroamigo and Cresol," Working Papers CEB 16-010, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Davide Forcella & Guja Lucheschi, 2016. "Microfinance and ecosystems conservation How green microfinance interacts with Socio- Ecological systems Lessons from Proyecto CAMBio in Nicaragua and Guatemala," Working Papers CEB 16-008, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item


    Microfinance; Ecological responsiveness; Environmental motivation; Organizational decision making; Corporate Social Responsibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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