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‘Banking is not neutral’

Banks urged to ‘Think Bolder’ to drive positive shift in global finance sector
Looking directly up at the skyline of the financial district in central London

In a year in which record temperatures are being broken and inequality rises across the globe, banks and financial institutions around the world are being urged to use this year’s Banking on Values Day (08 November) to ‘Think Bolder’ and recognise that banking can be a force for good.
 
Led by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), Banking on Values Day is an annual event which seeks to reaffirm the crucial role that banks can play as a force for good.

With a member base of over 70 banks and financial institutions operating in 45 countries, GABV seeks to use Banking on Values Day to transform the financial sector’s ways of working towards those that promote a greener, fairer future.

As well as encouraging existing, authentic efforts to deliver lasting change, the GABV urges that collaborative action and bigger, bolder thinking is critical if we are to find innovative new approaches which can help drive a transition to a low carbon, inclusive economy.

A sustainable market transformation

A global virtual panel discussion will take place today (08 November) with leaders from the Banking on Values movement about the limits and opportunities of ESG and how values-based banks implement a bolder approach to sustainability.

To support its ‘Think Bolder’ campaign, the GABV has published a new report, Think Bolder: Best Practices for Sustainable Market Transformation in the Financial Sector, together with the Nyenrode Business University in The Netherlands.

The report shares learnings from leading values-based banks who adopt effective strategies that go beyond ESG. The report outlines nine common characteristics of conventional banks versus values-based banks, highlighting the opportunities to build on proven initiatives.

‘Banking can be a powerful force for good. From social inequality to the climate emergency, the sector has a choice; to ignore and exacerbate these issues, or to work together to overcome them. Banking on Values Day 2023 celebrates a bolder, better way to bank and calls on the financial sector, including values-based banks, to support the transformation we need to achieve a greener and fairer future.’

MARTIN ROHNER
Executive director, GABV

Banks that shape society

The GABV, made up of 70+ pioneering banks, credit unions and microfinance institutions from across the world, advocates for banks to take a pivotal role in shaping the economy, society and the environment.

The GABV believes that banks have significant knowledge about the influence of governmental policies on the real economy, and that they can use this knowledge to advocate for just institutions.
 
For example, the GABV has advocated for progress in a social taxonomy and for the exclusion of gas and nuclear from the green taxonomy of the European Union. The GABV has also been instrumental in helping globalise the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), a harmonised, open-source tool to measure and disclose the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of financial institutions’ loans and investments.

‘GABV and its members strongly believe that there is a better way to bank. For decades values-based banks have financed positive impact, proving that non-extractive finance is possible and viable. We call on the global banking and finance sector to Think Bolder, and to drive forwards far-reaching change so that a new standard for banking is set – one that can secure economic growth alongside planetary protection and the promotion of social equality.’

MARTIN ROHNER
Executive director, GABV

GABV member actions

Values-based banks have the ambition to put people and the planet at the centre of decision making. With strong diversity in terms of size, business model, cultural contexts or markets they operate in, they have a goal in common: to use finance to meet their communities’ needs and create positive impact.
 
Across the world, examples of bold decisions and actions by GABV members include:

  • Triodos Bank, in Europe, has set targets to be net zero by 2035
  • BancoSol, in Bolivia, innovates in AI to promote financial inclusion through microloans
  • Summit Credit Union in the USA is promoting equal pay between men and women
  • Muktinath Bikas Bank, in Nepal, offers financial literacy programs to empower communities
  • Opportunity International Savings and Loans, in Ghana, supports economically disadvantaged young women in the country

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