We use cookies on this website to analyse browsing, help enhance your experience, provide social media features and for you to view embedded content such as videos. Please click accept if you are happy with our use of cookies. You find out more about how we use cookies in our Cookie Statement.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

opinion

Another world is possible

Taking a glimpse of a #bankingonvalues future

Taking a glimpse of a #bankingonvalues future

“Unless your savings are under your mattress, your money is being used to change the world right now, for good or for ill. This realisation gives us all a responsibility to consider how our money is deployed, but it also gives us a power most of us never knew we had.”

Anna Laycock, Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society says that after years of believing money was no more than a necessary evil, she sees a glimpse of how we could organise our economy to serve people and planet.

Anna Laycock Ecology

Anna Laycock, Ethics and External Affairs Manager

Another world is possible! It’s the rallying cry of idealists the world over. It’s what I believed when I started my career in international development, when money to me was no more than a necessary evil. It’s the affirmation that unites delegates at the World Social Forum, the annual meeting of global civil society that rivals the gathering of the rich and powerful in Davos.

 

Inspiring words are important tools in the struggle for a better future. But it’s easy to lose faith in the possibility of another world when the might of big business and the drive for short-term profit overrule the need for environmental and social justice, time after time.

The global financial crisis of 2008 was meant to be a turning point when capitalism acknowledged the error of its ways and we began the transition to a fairer, more sustainable system. But it didn’t happen. Year by year, we creep back towards business as usual.

Please don’t give up hope just yet. Another world is slowly emerging from the actions of millions of people every day. It’s a world in which capital is directed to projects that support people and planet, building sustainable communities and economies.

“Unless your savings are under your mattress, your money is being used to change the world right now, for good or for ill.”

Anna Laycock, Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society

In Western Uganda, a tea factory owned by its growers provides more than 4,700 local people with a long-term income. In Minneapolis, adults with substance dependency, mental illness and long-term homelessness have access to safe, secure housing. In Nepal, a village that once lived in darkness at night is now powered by a micro-hydro project, meaning villagers can use the time they spent collecting firewood to develop their own enterprises.

These projects are funded by members of the Global Alliance of Banking on Values, a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks and financial co-operatives. Covering 30 countries and with members in every continent, GABV finds solutions to international problems by promoting a positive, viable alternative to the current financial system.

We call this #bankingonvalues, because there is no value-free alternative. Unless your savings are under your mattress, your money is being used to change the world right now, for good or for ill. This realisation gives us all a responsibility to consider how our money is deployed, but it also gives us a power most of us never knew we had.

“By choosing to bank on values, our customers create change on a number of levels.”

Anna Laycock, Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society

By choosing to bank on values, our customers create change on a number of levels. Their money contributes to projects that have a positive social, environmental or cultural impact. They show their active support for the idea that finance can work differently – and profitably. And by making a conscious choice about how their money is used, they are asserting their power as ‘citizen bankers’ who can and do shape the future.

A world full of bankers might sound like your idea of hell. But it’s actually a deeply radical idea. This isn’t about saving capitalism from itself along the lines of the all-star Inclusive Capitalism initiative. It’s not about finding ways to perpetuate the current economic system, but changing the current system from within, through millions of acts of tiny revolution. Every one of the 20 million customers of GABV members has made an individual choice that contributes to a powerful whole.

Do we know that banking on values will lead to a seismic shift in the world economy towards justice and sustainability? No. But every time someone uses their money to solve a problem, not cause a problem or exploit its symptoms, they’re contributing to the complex process of social change. They’re also making a value statement about the future they want to create, something which builds a sense of agency and can in itself be the catalyst of change.

“Every time someone uses their money to solve a problem, not cause a problem or exploit its symptoms, they’re contributing to the complex process of social change.”

Anna Laycock, Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society

So I still believe that another world is possible – much more than I did before I discovered the concept of sustainable finance. I don’t deny the enormity of the challenges we face in getting there, but in the GABV I see a glimpse of how we could organise our economy to serve people and planet, rather than dictating the terms on which our world operates. If you want a glimpse of that future, take a look at #bankingonvalues today.

www.gabv.org/bankingonvalues

www.ecology.co.uk

Anna Laycock is Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society

What do you think of "Another world is possible"

Please enter a comment

Please enter your name

Triodos Bank HO 4 years ago

This is a test comment