Global Alliance for Banking on Values Summit – Reflections

Article by Maggie Miland

If I had gone to school just fifty years ago, I would have been hard-pressed to pursue my degree in International Relations. Combining Economics with Politics and History to prepare someone for their professional life was unheard of until recently. But, with the rise in technology and an increase in public awareness of what is going on in the world outside of our immediate communities, there subsequently became a need for an interdisciplinary lens in the business world. We can no longer deny that our actions as enterprises, whether Google-sized or a small mom and pop store, produce a negative ripple effect if we are left to be solely profit-driven.

Another thing you would be shocked to see half a century ago would be the involvement of banks in solving some of the world’s most pressing social challenges. However, in February I attended the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) Summit hosted by Vancity in Vancouver. CEOs and youth delegates alike were urged to forget any preconceived hierarchical perceptions such as those based on professional experiences, age, job titles, etc. This was to allow and encourage all participants to have an open conversation about Migration, Gender Equality, and Climate Change as egalitarian global citizens; each attendee’s voice, opinions and concerns were to be heard and given equal attention and consideration. Vancity President and CEO, Tamara Vrooman, discussed how banks are at the forefront of global social change: “The allocation of capital is probably one of the least talked about and most powerful tools we have. Who gets a loan and who doesn’t really determines the kind of future that we create.” (source)

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Courtesy of Realize Strategies.