The Global Alliance for Banking on Values Launched
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Eleven of the world’s leading sustainable banks have created a new alliance to build a positive alternative to a global financial system in crisis. The banks, which have assets of over 10 billion $ and serve over seven million customers in 20 countries, came together for the first time at a special meeting in the Netherlands from 2 – 4 March. The Global Alliance for Banking on Values was launched at an event which included speeches from Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of The Netherlands, a former banker and former member of the United Nations Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. The banks in the Alliance range from GLS Bank in Germany, BRAC Bank – part of the BRAC Group, the world’s largest microfinance institution – to ShoreBank, a community bank based in Chicago, and Triodos Bank located in the Netherlands. (Photo: Thomas Jorberg, CEO of GLS Bank durch a sustainability conference in Frankfurt a week ago)
The new partnership plans to develop new ways of working, build organizations better suited to long-term sustainable thinking, and new forms of ownership and economic cooperation. Thomas Jorberg, CEO of GLS Bank, emphasized the importance of the partnership: “For a long time we influence political and social discussions nationally. However, at the moment given the financial crisis, and its profound and lasting influence it is crucial to launch an alliance of proven effective partners who concentrate their expertise to provide international leadership.” Founded by BRAC bank in Bangladesh, ShoreBank in the US, and Triodos Bank in The Netherlands, the Alliance’s members are senior bankers, seven of whom are founders of the institutions themselves. “We will promote responsible finance - supporting existing banks and helping to develop new ones,” says Mary Houghton, President of the ShoreBank Corporation. “We will lead the debate on the banking models we think could inspire profound changes in the mainstream financial industry. We won’t just talk about change, we will work together to deliver it. Given the need for a healthier, more sustainable economy and the current failure of the mainstream to provide it, establishing the Global Alliance for Banking on Values could hardly be more important.”
For more than 30 years, GLS Bank has stood for sensible and sustainable banking activities. In line with consistent criteria, it exclusively finances social, ecological and cultural enterprises firmly based in the real economy. To make the application of resources transparent and inform its customers about the enterprises financed, the GLS Bank publishes quarterly all loans which have been allocated. Its own investments in securities are also revealed by the Bank.