Kicking off the Sustainable Finance Challenge Series!

Reorienting and leveraging private sector flows can accelerate food system transformation. But core market failures still limit sustainable finance to reach scale in food systems. In a series of Design Thinking Workshops, stakeholders from different sectors are guided to develop, prototype and test innovative solutions to these gaps. 

To achieve agricultural transformation, we need to unlock private capital. Designing sustainable investments can change the ways food system innovations are developed and prioritized. Crucial needed mechanisms include:

  • knowledge platforms for quantifying risk-return profiles and impacts;
  • deep pipelines for developing investment-ready projects; and
  • matching platforms for aggregating portfolios and linking these to investors, with blended finance structures.

The Sustainable Finance Challenge Series are a series of virtual design thinking workshops, in which representatives of the relevant financiers will design (elements) of these crucial mechanisms.

The design thinking process

“Design Thinking is a creative process which steps help to frame problems, ask the right questions, created more, and chose the best answers (Barroca et al. 2017).”

At the heart of this idea-to-action approach is a collaborative process, where methodologies such as design thinking are applied in a guided manner to explore and to produce feasible, viable and desirable concepts and action plans in a limited time period.

Objective of the kick-off workshop

A sharpened focus on the challenge(s), with a shared understanding among relevant stakeholders, and narrowing down the participants with the right leverage for the next action steps.


  • Reformulated and condensed one-challenge sentence(s).
  • Nominated leads, participants and resource persons for the challenge workshops.


A professional facilitator will guide participants through a step-wise, creative but micro-timed collaborative process with design thinking methodologies.

by Susanne Mira Heinz,

Participants (in alphabetic order):

  • ADM Capital Foundation: Iain Henderson, Managing Director ADMCF
  • Agri-EPI Centre: Shamal Mohammed, Chief Technical Officer, Digital Transformation in Agriculture
  • ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (CRN): Imelda (Dada) Bacudo, Coordinator ASEAN CRN
  • Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA): Prasun Das, Secretary General APRACA
  • Centre for Climate Change (CCC), Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), India: Sriram Appulingam, Deputy General Manager CCC
  • CGIAR Research Program Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS): Dhanush Dinesh, Head of Partnerships and Outreach, CCAFS & Alberto Millan, Global Lead Sustainable Finance, CIAT (& Richard Newman, Consultant Sustainable Finance, IWMI)
  • Climate Policy Initiative (CPI): Daniela Chiriac, Senior Consultant Climate Finance & Luthfyana Larasati, Senior Analyst Climate Finance, The Lab - Driving Sustainable Investment
  • FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO RAP): Beau Damen, Natural Resources Officer, Climate Change and Bioenergy
  • German Development Cooperation (GIZ): Jens Treffner, Project Manager Green innovation Centre and Better Rice Initiative Asia
  • Green Climate Fund: Hyejin Lee, Climate Investment Officer, Private Sector Facility (PSF)
  • Green Growth Knowledge Partnership: Camille Andres, Green Finance Consultant, Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP)
  • Hivos – People Unlimited: Eva Sulistiawaty, Program Development Officer, Sustainable Food at Hivos SEA
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan: Akiko Nagano, Deputy Director Climate Change Negotiations, Environment Policy Office MAFF & Shoko Tatara, Technical Official, Environment Policy Office MAFF
  • MerciCorps Accelerator: TBD
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India: TBD
  • Rabobank India: Arindom Datta, Executive Director Rural & Development Banking/Advisory
  • Samunnati Financial Intermediation and Services Private Limited: Hari Rajagopal, Vice President Capital Markets
  • World Business Council of Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Victoria Crawford, Manager Investment Partnership Network (IPN)
  • World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF Singapore): Rob de Jong, Vice President Bankable Nature Solutions

Roles of participants

At the end of the kick-off workshop, participants will be invited to join a team of “designers”, or the pool of “resource persons:”

Active “designers” will dedicate 2-3 times 3 hours, to carry forward one selected design challenge. The Design Thinking coach will guide the team(s) of 3-5 people step-by-step in a virtual workshop format.

Link to the venue:

Zoom Meeting 

For invitees only


Resource persons will be available upon request to dedicate 1 hour (max) for possible interaction during the Design Thinking process, e.g. giving expert-interviews, or acting as sounding board or juror.

Agenda of the kick-off workshop




8:00 am

5:00 pm

Welcome & Introduction 

8:15 am

5:15 pm


8:30 am

5:30 pm

Understand I

Exchange of perspectives with other experts via interviews in teams of two

9:00 am

6:00 pm

Understand II

Semantic mindmap in plenary

9:40 am

6:40 pm


9:55 am

6:55 pm

Understand III

Reformulate the challenge sentence(s) as starting point for joint workshops

10:30 am

7:30 pm

Next steps & nominate participants

10:45 am

7:45 pm


11:00 am8:00 pmClosing

Sponsoring organizations

The Sustainable Finance Challenge Series is funded by ACIAR and the Ministry of Nature, Agriculture and Food Quality of the Netherlands, and co-organized by CCAFS and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.