Regional collaboration in action: environmental and social (E&S) workshop in Mumbai

GCPF hosted partner institutions from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region for an E&S workshop held in Mumbai from 13 March to 15 March 2023

GCPF’s recent E&S workshop brought together 28 participants from 16 partner institutions across seven emerging markets in APAC, demonstrating diversified institutional and individual E&S capacities.

This was the second regional E&S workshop for GCPF partners in APAC, with the first one being held in 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. While GCPF has several long-term partner institutions, there was one common participant between the two workshops – Mr. Hemantha Seneviratne, Assistant Manager at HNB Sri Lanka (see photograph on the left) managing the bank’s Sustainable Business. His feedback on the workshop reflects GCPF’s efforts to not only inspire but also support implementation of best international practices amongst its partners: “I had participated in a GCPF hosted workshop on E&S risk management in 2018 and I was in doubt if this workshop would bring new insights. While we have strong systems in place, I appreciate learning about topics that are rather nascent in Sri Lanka such as grievance redressal mechanism and gender non-discrimination. The GCPF workshops have added a lot of value, with management giving me the responsibility of educating the remaining team back in Sri Lanka on my learnings from the workshop.”

This workshop specifically focussed on the social risks which are more prominent and relevant for all types of borrower segments ranging from micro entrepreneurs to corporate customers.

Ms. Anuradha Nataraj is Head of Credit of Kinara Capital (see photograph on the right), a Non-banking financial institution (NBFI) catering to micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) customers in Tier I, Tier II & Tier III cities in India. Anuradha says, “I came to the workshop with the expectation to understand to what extent E&S risk management is relevant and can be implemented in our institutions that provide financing predominately to first-time entrepreneurs. The workshop addressed these aspects. In addition, GCPF brought in various institutions that are at different stages of their E&S management system implementation. This has made the workshop a great experience and a good learning opportunity. While our institution already has a very strong inclusive and social mandate, I picked up on a couple of social risk management measures we could strengthen. We’re happy to do this not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s a mutual benefit for us and our clients.”

The diversity of perspectives and shared learning at the workshop is also underscored in the diverse profiles of the participants. It saw participation from professionals overseeing E&S risk management and also business teams and relationship managers. Mr. Ashif Iqbual Chowdhury, VP & Unit Head 4 – RMG & Textile of the CityBank Bangladesh (see photograph on the left) says “During the two-day workshop I have come to learn about new aspects of E&S risk management practises. The workshop offered me an opportunity to hear about best practices on how we can identify and manage social risks such as external grievance mechanisms. We value GCPF’s support to help us drive positive change.”

The success of GCPF lies in its partners. Overall, the workshop reinforced this motto for continuous learning and development of its partners by facilitating interactive sessions and practical case studies for better social risk management.

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