On December 14th 2011, the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) held the first FAST Global Forum at Rabobank’s headquarters in Utrecht, The Netherlands. With 135 participants in attendance, the forum brought together representatives from around the world including investors, banks, certification agencies, development institutions and governments.
The event began with a welcome address from Ben Witjes, Director Programmes and Projects at Hivos and Olaf Brugman, Senior Manager Sustainability at Rabobank Nederland. A keynote address was delivered by André Laude, Chief Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation – Western Europe, who emphasized the importance of SME finance in order to ensure food security and reduce climate change.
The forum focused on strengthening the sustainable SME finance sector. It also acted as a “seedbed” for identifying and implementing new initiatives related to emerging trends in sustainable SME finance and ‘impact investment.’
As part of the forum, FAST launched its ‘Shared Impact Measurement Toolbox’ (SIAMT v 1.0), which provides common benchmark indicators for measuring the social, economic and environmental impacts of sustainable SME finance. Delegates also participated in a number of workshops.
Organized by FAST and hosted by Rabobank, the forum was made possible with the support of including Hivos, Citi Foundation and FSC international.