Posts for Enclude Blog

Posted on December 02, 2015

Posted by: Anouk Verheijen, Senior Consultant, Sustainable Business Practices

Social and Environmental Performance Management is a new field for Angolan banks. Angola’s economy is overwhelmingly driven by the oil sector and the country is suffering from high unemployment rates (26%), significant poverty, and high income inequality. In this context social and environmental risks relating to corporate lending are high, while plenty of opportunities exist for designing specific financial offerings to promote green growth and financial inclusion.

Banco de Poupança e Crédito (BPC), an Angolan government-owned commercial bank, is the first Angolan bank to implement a Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS) to enhance its social and environmental performance. Enclude’s team of consultants has worked together with the bank, as well at with the Angolan Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the African Development Bank (AfDB), to design this system. The system provides BPC with the necessary tools to assess social and environmental (including climate change) risks of prospective clients. In addition, it enables the bank to measure and improve on the bank’s own social and environmental footprint and to develop new loan offerings promoting green growth and social inclusion.

AfDB’s Principle Social Development Specialist Rachel Aron says of the recent completion of the new system: ‘We congratulate BPC on becoming the first and only Angolan bank with a SEMS!’

More insights about and a summary of the SEMS can be found on the BPC website.

Posted on October 22, 2015

Pushing the Boundaries of the Wharton Study on Impact Investing

Posted by: Laurie Spengler, President & CEO

Do I make money or do I support a good cause? For too long investment decisions have been reduced to a clear cut choice between two assumed extremes: greatest possible financial return versus greatest possible charitable impact.

The Wharton study, Does Social Impact Demand Financial Sacrifice?, highlights the need to think beyond the landscape of extremes. But does it go far enough in looking at investment choices? I believe that there is another decision tree that allows an investor to deploy capital in a manner consistent with her objectives; a decision path that takes advantage of the expanding universe of investment opportunities falling between the extremes of making the most money she can or giving her money away to a good cause.

At Enclude, a specialist advisory intermediary in responsible, sustainable and impact investing, we describe total return as the sum of the financial, social and environmental benefit arising from an investment. In this blog, I would like to offer a continuum of thinking sparked by the Wharton study that calls for a fresh analytical framework to help investors answer the question “what can I expect to achieve through this investment beyond making money?”

Investigating new investment landscapes

As investors, we too often use different lenses to decide, investing without regard to considerations for how the return is generated, and donating for good causes without regard for optimizing financial results. But we no longer live in a bifurcated world that forces such extreme choices.

For example: in my financial institutions portfolio, do I invest in a bank that avoids making loans to entrepreneurs in its local community and make a donation to a community foundation or do I make an investment in a community bank serving local entrepreneurs responsibly and profitably? Do I hold a portfolio of energy assets that remain linked to fossil fuels and make a generous donation to a wildlife preservation charity or do I invest in a clean energy fund where all the assets are invested into companies that are lowering our carbon footprint?

Posted on October 19, 2015

Posted by: Enclude’s Channels & Linkages Team

Trends in the field of digital financial services (DFS) range from changes in the stakeholders driving change to reactions to fraud allegations. The members of Enclude’s Channels and Linkages cut through the noise of the breakneck pace of change to share trends we think will be the most significant in the coming years.

 National Strategies for Financial Inclusion

Although financial inclusion has been a long-term goal for many, we are seeing more concrete and articulated national plans to reach previously un(der)served markets. In these new strategies, DFS is a key channel with which Central Banks plan to reach new populations. Moving forward, we expect to see changes in or developments of national payment system strategies that will have an impact on the opening of markets to new financial service providers as well as new rules that will govern the supervision and oversight of payment systems. To highlight this increase, 23 countries have made National Financial Inclusion Strategy commitments under the Maya Declaration, as of 2014. At least 18 more countries are at various stages of the process.

Governments Driving Digital Payments

More recently, governments are prioritizing the digitization of government-to-person and person-to-government (G2P and P2G) payment streams, including pensions, salaries, and other social welfare disbursements. It is part of a wider digitization process where governments are also automating their systems, such as those for internal processes and provision of public services (notably, payments and national identification systems). Shifting payments, such as wages or government transfers, from cash into accounts can increase the number of adults with a bank account according to multiple studies. These disbursements provide an important first entry point into formal financial services for recipients, which can lead to increases in savings and the substitution of formal for informal saving flows. For example, Colombia has undergone a transition to digital with Familias en Accion, which pays bi-monthly amounts to 2.4 million households, or 11% of the population. Within two years, the program went from 76% of its beneficiaries being paid in cash to only 9% in 2011—by which time, 91% had a card-linked bank account.

Increased Risk and Risk Management Responses

Posted on October 16, 2015

Sustainable Energy Services Africa (SESA) Programme – Closing Event

Posted by: Anouk Verheijen and Wieteke Gondrie, Senior Consultants, Sustainable Business Practices 


The small scale solar sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is a promising market in terms of the unmet need for clean, reliable and affordable power and light. What are the trends in the sector for the coming 5 to 10 years? What can solar companies learn from market players serving Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) markets in other sectors? What innovative business models and approaches can be used under which market conditions to further grow the sector? These were some of the questions raised, discussed, and moved forward during the Sustainable Energy Services Africa (SESA) programme closing event, which took place from 7-8 October in Nairobi, Kenya.

The SESA programme is a public-private partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Philips and is implemented by Enclude, together with ETC Foundation. The programme focuses on accelerating the market for small scale, off-grid energy products (predominantly but not exclusively solar lighting) in 4 Sub-Saharan countries, namely Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana. This project, which started in 2007 and is coming to an end this year, has tested various business models by providing grant financing to projects set up by businesses, NGO’s and business associations.

During the SESA closing event, attended by project implementers from all 4 countries, participants were challenged to come up with new ideas to further grow the small scale solar sector in their respective countries. These ideas were formulated based on sector trends shared by industry experts; inspiration sessions from BOP sector players operating outside the solar sector (cookstoves, mobile technology and health care); and lessons learned from business models and approaches tested under the SESA programme.  New ideas pitched by the participants included the establishment of an African based solar energy incubator and accelerator, a franchise / pop-up shop model to distribute solar products to last-mile customers, and development of a green battery­­­­­­­­­.

Posted on October 02, 2015

Posted by: Enclude
MoIT Malawi Business Linkages 201503

This photo was taken by Dieter Kohn in the north of Malawi, in the mountains close to Rumphi.  Enclude staff visited the farmers pictured here and their neighbours, who want to diversify their produce, leaving the traditional tobacco farming behind for new crops.

Enclude is working together with Malawi’s Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop a comprehensive enterprise support intervention to facilitate linkages and create effective ways of upgrading MSMEs; facilitate transfers of technology, knowledge, and skills; and improve business and management practices and access to markets.

Posted on September 30, 2015

Posted by: Kelly Robbins, Special Projects Lead

Discussion with Geert Jan Schuite (GJS), Global Group Lead, Outcomes Management & Strategy and Kelly Robbins (KR), Special Projects Lead

(KR) To start off, tell me how you think of Environmental & Social Management?  You do a lot of trainings on E&S Management Systems with bank and MFI professionals.  How do you explain what E&S means in your trainings?

(GJS) In working with commercial entities in emerging economies, Enclude’s goal is to help them explore and understand their triple bottom line focus.  Having an Environmental & Social Management System in place is about looking beyond profits, to also take into account social inclusion and environmental sustainability as elements that strengthen the quality of organisations, strengthen the position of organisations, and ultimately strengthen the business of organisations.

(KR) I know Enclude’s Outcomes Management & Strategy team works with many clients and partners to incorporate new E&S Management Systems into their core businesses.  What kinds of systems do you find work best?

(GJS) The key of our work with commercial banks, MFIs, funds, and even individual producers is not so much about convincing these partners to use certain systems or pushing them in a certain direction, but rather to assist them in exploring and finding the business meaning of E&S for themselves, so it becomes intrinsic.  That is our ultimate goal.  We never say, “this is how we do it in Europe, now also do the same thing in Malawi.”  Our basic principle is to work together with our partners to look at social and environmental issues from the local context.  We can develop E&S Management Systems together, because together we see what makes sense and what doesn’t for that particular business.  That is the key proposition we are after.

(KR) When working so closely with your partners to develop these systems, do you find that managing environmental and social outcomes is already being done – for example in Africa where you have recently held several E&S trainings?

Posted on September 21, 2015

Posted by: Prinny Anderson, Executive Coaching & Education | Management Development and Enclude Consultant

In the first edition of our “Human Capital Management” blog series, we talked about strategic human capital management and how a growing body of data shows that deployment of high quality human capital management behaviors and systems in an organization contribute to stronger business results. A deeper look reveals that the “X factor” is employee engagement and satisfaction. High quality human capital management generates higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction, and engagement and satisfaction turn out to be significant drivers of successful business performance.

Taking this line of thinking a little further, we find in the research eight drivers of employee engagement that explicitly create the connections among employee satisfaction / engagement, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and business performance. These eight drivers are the leverage points for catalyzing those interconnections. Regardless of your role in or relationship to MSME banking and no matter your primary expertise, being aware of these leverage points and the relationship between engagement and results gives you an additional tool for building your own business or helping a partner or an investee to build theirs.

Here is a sampling of what research over the past ten years has increasingly shown regarding the causal relationship between employee satisfaction and engagement and business outcomes.

Posted on July 14, 2015

Posted by: Lara Pawlak, Director of Human & Intellectual Capital

At Enclude, we apply business solutions to development problems in a process that is, in its essence, organizational transformation and change management.  Real change needs people behind it, so we’re pleased to see the business and development worlds increasingly investing in the idea that it is people and their levels of commitment which drive organizational performance.

Fueled by advances in neuroscience and social psychology, and encouraged by the growing popularity of behavioral economics, the business world has by and large woken up to the fact that employees are not simply utility-maximizing, incentive-chasing robots, but actual humans with a more complicated and largely emotional decision-making calculus, and the ability (indeed, the compulsion) to think and act independently.

This cultural change has liberated many workers from command-and-control management models that were often counter-productive, and left many employees somewhere between confused and annoyed, but in any event, not fully engaged to yield maximum value.  Old habits die hard, especially when individual managers are under great pressure, but today businesses have recognized this potential gold mine in plain sight, and are increasingly shifting from an administrative view of traditional, siloed HR departments to one that elevates human capital management to a strategic function, linked closely to and flowing directly from business strategy.

Posted on June 29, 2015

Posted by: Cathelijne van Melle, Senior Consultant, and Kristóf Rácz, Senior Analyst, Sustainable Business Practices

18604086455_5140b5f7ab_oCommunity of Soy Producers and Processors in Northern Benin

Over the course of its final year, Enclude is partnering with ICCO to evaluate the Fair Economic Development (FED) programme. The FED is a worldwide programme that aims to improve the socio-economic position of small producers, workers, employees, and local entrepreneurs in rural areas of developing countries through market mechanisms that are fair, social, ecologically sustainable and economically viable.  Between 2011 and 2014, through its FED programme, ICCO has funded 495 projects valued at approximately EUR 50 million worldwide.  The main focus of the evaluation is to determine whether the objectives of the programme have been reached and what lessons can be applied to ICCO’s multi-annual strategic plan for the period after 2015.

Over the course of the evaluation, the Enclude team has visited 20 FED projects and interviewed 100 stakeholders in Paraguay, Benin, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and the Philippines.

17981466074_e7f60f6260_o Focus Group Discussion with ICCO Beneficiaries in Benin


Smallholder Farmer in Paraguay                                              





Organic Lemon Grass Producer in Paraguay



17502445820_6b53c374e3_o Organic Smallholder Farmers in Southern Paraguay

Posted on June 23, 2015

Posted by: Diana Bialus, Consultant, Inclusive Finance

Many SMEs in Cambodia work with outdated and inefficient technology. With energy prices high, technological inefficiency means high production costs and high environmental costs. Locally available technologies are often not adopted because existing suppliers lack capacity to promote their products and distribute more widely, potential clients have limited access to finance and small businesses do not yet recognize the business case for adopting more efficient technologies.

Image1MEET-BIS Cambodia (Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency Through Business Innovation Support) confronts these problems head on.  Under the European Union’s SWITCH Asia initiative to promote sustainable consumption and production, this project aims to stimulate SME investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions (EE/RE). The project is built on the experience of MEET-BIS Vietnam implemented by a consortium of companies, including Enclude which successfully facilitated investment in energy saving solutions for 423 SMEs.

Enclude, as the leader of the Access to Finance component of MEET-BIS Cambodia, facilitates the flow of financing to technology suppliers and to SMEs that want to invest in EE/RE projects. Our goal is to establish partnerships with at least two financial institutions (FIs) to develop “green” lending products that will support EE/RE initiatives at 50+ SMEs over four years. Innovation is an important part of our activities and we aim to develop financing solutions via several channels: from banks and MFIs to leasing, ESCO models, donor and climate funds, and crowdfunding.