As Australia’s Financial Service Inquiry gets underway, the world’s leading values-based banks are meeting in Melbourne to argue for a very different kind of banking system.
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a growing, independent network of 25 of the world's leading values-based banks, is holding its 2014 annual conference in Melbourne, hosted by its only Australian member, bankmecu.
The network, which counts the world’s most prominent sustainable banks among its membership, promotes a transition to a more resilient, transparent and diverse banking landscape.Launched in 2009 to grow the impact of values-based banking globally, it now has combined assets of over USD$ 70 billion and provides banking service to more than 20 million clients in six continents.
“We are bringing CEOs from the world’s leading sustainable banks together in Australia to demonstrate the power of people-first banking,” says Peter Blom, CEO of Pan-European sustainable bank, Triodos Bank, and Chair of the GABV.
“These banks have a successful track record of balancing the needs of people, the planet, and prosperity. We want to use these positive examples to demonstrate that a more diverse ecology of banks, made up of both bigger banks and a breadth of smaller more specialised and innovative banks, is in the long-term interests of us all.”
bankmecu will showcase the worldwide sustainable banking movement at two public events, tailored for the business community and for the general public. The events bring senior figures from the sustainability and sustainable finance world including Australian writer, activist and social entrepreneur, Paul Gilding, Founder and Chair of Impact Investment Exchange Asia, Professor Durreen Shahnaz, and banker, author and sustainability consultant, Pavan Sukhdev.
Although each GABV bank is unique, they share a commitment to using money to actively benefit people and the environment. They make business decisions, first, by identifying a human need, and then by determining how to fulfill that need on a financially sustainable basis. Together the GABV network has: created an active human capital network to build a new cadre of sustainable bankers globally; is developing a dedicated investment fund to provide capital for new and existing sustainable banks, and is piloting a scorecard to assess and measure the bank’s social impact and sustainability to appear in GABV member banks 2013 reports later this year.
According to Damien Walsh, Managing Director of Melbourne-based bankmecu, the week is an opportunity to raise the profile in Australia of new approaches to finance and investment around the world.
“This visit of leaders of the world’s most successful values-based banks is timely as we embark on the first thorough examination of Australia’s banking system in nearly 20 years. There is much to learn from our colleagues from abroad, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to share their perspectives with regulators, business leaders and the public alike,” Mr Walsh said.
The conference will include two public events: the first – Redefining Capitalism – financing our future prosperity is on March 5 th, from 12.30 to 2.30 pm. The luncheon panel will feature Durreen Shahnaz, Chair of Impact Investment Exchange Asia, Rumee Ali, GABV Board Member and Director and Board Member of BRAC Bank, Bangladesh, Helga Birgden, Partner and Head of Responsible Investment for Asia Pacific at Mercer, Glen Saunders , Chair of UN Principles of Responsible Investment, and Pavan Sukhdev, CEO of GIST Advisory, Visiting Fellow Yale University in conversation with Presenter of Mornings on 774 ABC Melbourne, Jon Faine.
The other public event – Banking on a More Sustainable World – takes place on the same day from 6pm to 7:30pm. Also hosted by Jon Faine, the panel includes Tamara Vrooman, CEO of Vancity Credit Union, Canada, Paul Gilding, Independent writer and advisor on sustainability, Cambridge School Sustainable Leadership, Durreen Shahnaz, Pavan Sukhdev, Glen Saunders and Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank and GABV Chair. Register for this free event here
For more information on the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, visit www.gabv.org.
For more information on bankmecu, visit www.bankmecu.com.au.
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BACKGROUNDER: Global Alliance for Banking on Values
Most banking institutions base their business decisions primarily or exclusively on profitability. GABV banks start by identifying a human need to be met and then determine how to meet that need on a financially sustainable basis.
GABV banks have combined assets of over $70 billion, and operate in over 30 countries.