As climate change-induced events increase in frequency, unpredictability, and severity, the people most impacted by such events are those least responsible for historic carbon emissions. The poorest 50 percent of the world’s population produces half the emissions of the richest 1 percent. Inclusive financial services can have a significant impact on how vulnerable populations respond to climate risks and challenges, but the inclusive finance community lacks an overarching framework for understanding and explaining the critical ways in which financial services can support improved outcomes for low-income and vulnerable people in the context of climate threats.

The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), in consultation with industry stakeholders, has created a holistic framework to help fill that gap. This report considers evidence on how inclusive financial services can help vulnerable populations respond to climate change and uses the framework to understand the various impact pathways through which financial services can help: mitigation, resilience, adaptation, and transition.


Howard Miller

Former Research Director

Howard led CFI’s work on climate, developing an understanding of how financial services can help low-income people prepare for and respond to climate-related risks. He specializes in rural financial inclusion and the market systems approach, and has worked on rural and agricultural finance analyses and strategies for clients including IFAD, GIZ, MasterCard Foundation, CGAP, and UNCDF. He has worked extensively with the FSD Network, helping to set up FSD Uganda and FSD Mozambique, as well as establishing FSD Africa’s work on financial inclusion for refugees and forcibly displaced people. He has also carried out significant research into India’s digital finance ecosystem, writing papers for clients including the Center for Global Development, USAID, and FCDO. Prior to CFI, he was the principal consultant for Nathan Associates in Delhi and London, and before that was an ODI fellow working on financial sector policy for Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. He has published a number of papers and blogs covering topics including smallholder finance, funding flows to the financial inclusion sector, inclusive fintech, digital finance in agriculture, and alternative data credit scoring. Howard has an master’s in economics from Cambridge University and a bachelor’s in economics and econometrics from Bristol University.

Lakshmi Krishnan


Lakshmi is a climate change and international development expert. She works with international organizations on their climate change strategy, and the design and supervision of climate finance projects, particularly in the agri-food sector. Previously, she was with FAO Bangladesh where she led the climate portfolio. Between 2013 and 2019, she was a part of the science and technical advisory body to CGIAR, where she worked on foresight, impact assessments, and program reviews – with a focus on climate change, poverty, and natural resource management. She has also worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), India in the Sustainable Energy Finance Advisory Services, and at the Centre for Microfinance at IFMR Research (now Krea University), India where she was a program head.

Lucciana Alvarez Ruiz

Senior Research Manager

With over ten years of experience in research, Lucciana Alvarez Ruiz plays a leading role in projects across CFI’s portfolio by providing project management, research design, and quantitative analysis. She joined the CFI as a Research Manager in February 2021 and focuses on micro and small enterprises, climate finance, AI, and women’s financial inclusion.

Lucciana graduated from Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a master’s in public administration in international development. Additionally, Lucciana holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and master’s studies in economics from the same university.

Before joining the CFI, Lucciana worked as a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC and Peru for over four years, researching and managing loans and operations in Latin American countries. She also worked for the United Nations Development Programme, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the Social Policy Data Visualization Lab of Harvard Kennedy School, and other think tanks.

She has experience designing and managing projects, supervising the implementation of surveys, analyzing data using STATA and RStudio language programs, writing academic papers, and visualizing data. She is fluent in English and Spanish and intermediate in Portuguese.

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