It is undeniable that the geographies in which the Advans Group operates are the most vulnerable to climate change. The urgency of the situation is growing, with natural disasters becoming more frequent and intense. Recently, violent floods hit Pakistan, impacting the Advans clients and their families. Côte d’Ivoire has also been impacted by floods while Tunisia has been affected by several heat waves. Advans is aware that "disadvantaged and vulnerable populations" (including MSMEs), are at “disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences with global warming of 1.5°C and beyond (high confidence)" (IPCC, 2018). For this reason, the institution has adopted an ambitious Climate Strategy, which will enable it to integrate the effects and impacts of climate change into its business model.
BII (British International Investment), EIB (European Investment Bank) and FMO (Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank), three partners and shareholders of the Advans Group, will help the Group to carry out this ambitious project through their financial and technical support. Their support will allow Advans to work on a global approach including: the assessment of the risks and potential impacts of climate change, the identification of the most vulnerable areas and populations (clients), raising awareness amongst staff and clients and defining adaptation strategies... The objective for Advans is to help its clients build their resilience while continuing to pursue its primary mission: that of supporting entrepreneurs and farmers in developing economies and improving their living conditions.
We are therefore starting to work on our climate strategy in three pilot countries - Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Tunisia.
Advans wants to strengthen its understanding of the current and future impacts of climate change on its clients' activities. This means considering their level of vulnerability to physical and transitional risks according to their geographical location, their level of income and their main income generating activities. In this important phase, Advans is supported by Horus Development Finance. Advans will assess the impacts on its urban and rural portfolio in each country and will have a specific approach for certain agricultural activities. For example, Advans Côte d'Ivoire has begun working with RISOME and JMK Consulting to assess the climate impacts on the cocoa sector.
By identifying the most likely risks and the clients who are most likely to be affected, Advans wants to help its MSME and farmer clients face climate change and adapt to the changes it will bring. Advans will therefore develop and deploy, with the support of its partners, tools to raise awareness on the main impacts of climate change and on transition risks. This will aim to help clients better identify actions that will enable them to reduce or mitigate the potential impact of climate risks on their businesses and households.
We will use and capitalize on the experience we have acquired on environmental and social risks, the impact of climate change and the level of resilience of our clients to develop adapted products and services. These products and services, while taking into account the relatively low income of the MSME clients we serve, will aim to mitigate the physical risks of climate change on clients' operations, promote adaptation, and support climate-smart agriculture and low-carbon growth strategies for urban clients.
As a first step, Advans has started to deploy the Climate Fresk, a collaborative workshop that raises awareness of the causes and consequences of climate change. 100 employees participated in a workshop during the Group seminar in June 2022 and the Fresk will be deployed in the coming months in the three pilot subsidiaries, thanks to the training of 32 Fresk facilitators internally, with the objective of training at least 50% of the staff on climate issues.
Advans wants to ensure that we can accompany our clients in adapting to the new challenges that the climate crisis will bring. We want to do everything possible to ensure the security of our clients and preserve their livelihoods.
Watch this space! We will continue to share information on the evolution of our climate strategy in the months to come.