Group 2

Milan Declaration: A Statement for Peace (2024)


28 February 2024

Milan Declaration: A Statement for Peace

This statement was released at the conclusion of the 2024 GABV Annual Meeting in Milan, Italy, on 28 February 2024

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) was created to put finance at the service of People and the Planet. Peace, and the stability that comes with it, is a prerequisite for finance to achieve this goal; to help address the key challenges of our time, such as climate change and social inequity that are at the core of our work. There can be no peace and stability while financial institutions continue to fund the production of, and trade in, arms.

On the occasion of its 16th Annual Meeting, in Padua and Milan, Italy, the GABV commits and stands in solidarity with everyone working to support the victims of conflict and the pursuit of peace. With this statement, the network for the world’s leading values-based banks undertakes to continue and intensify its efforts to promote peace, in all its forms and calls on financial institutions everywhere to follow its lead and divest from the arms industry that propagates conflicts across the globe. 

From Africa to Europe and the Middle East, some GABV members operate in countries impacted directly by armed conflict. They, their co-workers and their clients are directly affected by conflict. And these banks take pragmatic steps to reduce its worst impacts. These values-based banks are especially relevant in conflict zones because they maintain local economic activity and serve vulnerable and often displaced communities. They also play a crucial role in financing resilient, inclusive economies. As such, they understand the cost of conflict first hand and offer a powerful example of how banking can be put to work in the service of peace and prosperity.  

A report, commissioned by the GABV and Banca Etica, shows how pivotal the global financial industry is in the arms trade, facilitating, by extension, military conflict. In contrast, the banking on values movement has chosen not to finance the production or trade in arms [1]. Instead, it intentionally focuses on finance for positive change for people and the planet, proving another approach is possible.  

The financing of weapons and arms does not qualify for, and is at odds with, any definition of sustainable finance. The GABV takes a humanitarian view and strongly condemns any type of violence, fighting or war, under any circumstances, wherever it occurs. Lasting conflict resolution can only take place through open dialogue, peaceful negotiations and sincere collaboration as a means to build the trust that underpins peace. 

The GABV calls on the financial industry to stop financing the production and trade of weapons and arms, encourages institutions to introduce or expand existing policies that curb finance for the weapons and arms industry, and asks that they disclose these transparently.

[1] Research from the GABV shows its members either have policies preventing finance for the production or trade in arms or, where that information was not available, provided written confirmation that they do not have any material exposure to the production or trade in arms. This position excludes firearms used for hunting, sport and/or recreation.

About the Global Alliance for Banking on Values
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is a network of independent banks using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Their collective goal is to change the banking system so that it is more transparent, supports economic, social and environmental sustainability, and serves the real economy. The GABV has 70+ members and operates in 45 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Europe. Collectively, they serve more than 60 million customers, employ 80,000 co-workers and hold over USD 210 billion of combined assets under management.

Lea la Declaración en español

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