OFN Takes a Seat at the Global Climate Table

OFN Takes a Seat at the Global Climate Table

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OFN President and CEO Harold Pettigrew joined COP28 to discuss how the CDFI industry finances climate justice in underinvested rural, urban, and Native communities.  

OFN President and CEO Harold Pettigrew appeared on a panel at COP28 to discuss how CDFIs are financing the clean energy transition in underinvested rural, urban, and Native communities.  

COP28, the largest global climate summit, has convened leaders, climate advocates, decision-makers, and more, in Dubai. The event, which touts around 90,000 registrants, will unfold over two weeks. All eyes are on the global climate meeting as time is running out to meet the commitment made at COP21 to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This goal is necessary to combat adverse levels of climate harm to our planet, and if we don’t meet it, we face disastrous repercussions.  

A “hot” topic on the agenda this year: climate finance.  

The effects of climate change are visible and tangible in many of our communities. Still, to propel progress, the world needs to invest capital more strategically into climate change mitigation solutions and resiliency.  

Community banks, green banks, and other U.S. financial institutions are critical partners to ensure that capital for the net-zero transition is invested where it matters most. CDFIs are an indispensable piece of this puzzle.  

The power of CDFIs to reach deep into their communities and work hand-in-hand with community stakeholders creates an impactful shift in adaptation and adoption strategies.  

OFN President and CEO Harold Pettigrew joined industry climate finance and community development leaders in a panel focused on “Financing the Transition for Impact.”  

“Climate justice is a core purpose for CDFIs,” said Pettigrew, emphasizing their unique role as an industry that invests capital to advance climate justice, build resiliency, and curb emissions. “CDFIs have an established infrastructure to go deeply and intentionally into communities that are most disadvantaged by traditional financing.” The industry’s investments in social and racial justice have shown the industry’s specialized ability to reach underinvested communities.   

OFN’s recent application for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund presents an unprecedented opportunity for CDFIs to ramp up climate financing efforts. And because CDFIs leverage $8 in private sector investment for every $1 in public funding, there’s potential to put truly catalytic capital into communities left behind by mainstream finance. 

CDFIs have a strong track record of climate justice and lending. Currently, 55% of OFN members offer green lending products, and OFN called on the industry to increase that number to 100% by 2028.    

Harold Pettigrew rang this message loud and clear on a global stage: CDFIs will be a key part of a just clean energy transition.  


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