Sustainability is a central guiding principle for Oikocredit’s operations. The economic and social pillar of the sustainability concept have always been in the focus of Oikocredit’s project and business policy. As a strong promoter of ethical investments, Oikocredit mobilizes investments to empower people to make choices that improve their lives. To increase transparency to its investors and give feedback on the organization’s policy Oikocredit established a social performance management and reporting system. It was therefore highly recommended for its social orientation in a rating conducted by M-CRIL, a renowned international rating agency for microfinance. In 2010 the organization received the important CGAP award, recognizing its efforts in integrating environment, social and governance factors into investment decisions.
Following the ISO 26000, the internationally accepted guideline on Social Responsibility, environment is seen as one of the many subjects an organization has to consider when determining its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Although there is a common understanding in Oikocredit that the global environmental challenges are becoming one of the causes of poverty and deprivation for the poor, there is still a need to strengthen both the awareness and the concrete activities for better integrating environmental and climate protection issues in Oikocredit’s policy. The fight against poverty cannot be played off against the goal of environment and climate protection, because preserving and improving the environment is a basic requirement for improving people’s quality of life and in many regions to simply enable people to survive. There is a close linkage between life, economic growth and the quality of environment.
One of the six central “Values”, on which Oikocredit’s work bases, explicitly refers to care for the environmental. It states: “a wholesome ecosystem is the basis for life. Animals, species and biodiversity should thus be preserved. Oikocredit believes that a healthy balance in nature can only be achieved in a world where resources and power are evenly spread”.