The challenge of international development requires a medley of ideas. At the Multilateral Investment Fund, we work in an array of topics that are at the forefront of efforts to spur the economic development of the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each week, this blog "Trends" brings you our latest research and thinking. 

Our complete list of blogs can be found here.

Green microfinance: A tool for sustainable business and climate action

By Arantza Loza

Silvia Fernández, a young widow, was not interested at first in a new energy-efficient refrigerator for her business, a bodega on a busy street of a poor neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. She didn’t know what energy efficiency meant, but when she was told it would lower her electricity bill, she changed her mind

Systematic sustainability is the goal of new fair-trade initiative

By Alejandro Escobar A.

It used to be that coffee and bananas were among the few products that carried a fair trade label, and made people feel good about their purchases during trips to the local supermarket. Nowadays, there are a vast number of products with some kind of standard or certification that guarantees a fair price, ensures that organic standards were met during production, or at least, says where it was grown. You can look for these labels now on just about every product you buy: fish, strawberries, quinoa, and even milk. 

Social entrepreneurship enters the mainstream

By Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen

Trends is on vacation this week. This post ran previously on our blog.  

Once a niche concept at the intersection of business and development, “social entrepreneurship” is now mainstream. A social entrepreneur, according to Ashoka founder Bill Draper, who coined the term in 1980, is a person with system-changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. A social enterprise is one that deliberately expands access to goods, services, income, and employment opportunities for vulnerable populations as part of its core business while seeking return on investment. Social entrepreneurship is increasingly appealing to people, and the idea of using a MBA degree to do good while doing well has grown in popularity on campuses and in businesses around the globe.

Emerging markets attract record $126 billion in clean energy investment

By David Bloomgarden

With climate change an increasing concern, clean energy technologies are an attractive alternative. What’s more, development of these new, low-carbon technologies—including biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind—can help reduce poverty in developing countries and enhance their energy security.

A new funding source for social innovation: The ‘crowd’

By César Buenadicha

In the journey from a revolutionary idea, to a start-up business, to an expanding business, it’s difficult for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises to access the finance they need through the traditional channels of private capital markets. A new way to address this gap is crowdfunding—an innovative tool that enables entrepreneurs or enterprises in the early stages of the business development cycle to tap the financial resources of the online community.