GABV Issues ‘Berlin Declaration’ To Transform Banking System

The Berlin Declaration can be read here, and below as a:
German translation
French translation
Spanish translation

Berlin, 13 March 2013 – The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks, issued a declaration at their Annual Meeting in March 2013 outlining how the banking system should be transformed. The sustainable banks called for a fundamental shift in how banks operate – to make them more transparent, sustainable and diverse.

1.    Transparency.  Only with transparency can trust be restored and people be aligned with the financial system and how it can serve them. All banks must provide full transparency on their business models and use of client funds using common standards to be set by independent experts such as the Global Reporting Initiative.

2.    Sustainability. Banks play a critical role in the transition towards a more sustainable economy. Therefore social and ecological criteria must play a critical role in the creation and use of financial products. All banks must use indicators to report social and ecological impact which should also be used within the regulatory framework.

3.    Diversity. The diversity of economies, cultures and community needs a diverse network of banks. Governments and regulators must include a diversity of banks as an important goal in the process of reframing regulations for the financial sector.

In addition, the 22 GABV banks, whose active members in Germany include GLS Bank and the local branch of Triodos Bank, demanded that regulation of financial markets should focus primarily on a positive vision for the global banking system beyond fixing the consequences of the financial crisis.

Peter Blom, Chair of the GABV and CEO of Triodos Bank: ‘We want to draw on the successes of groundbreaking banks around the world to develop the partnerships and genuinely innovative approaches necessary to forge a financially viable future for banking, a positive future that starts and ends with the interests of people and the environment they depend on.’

Thomas Jorberg, CEO GLS Bank and member of the Steering Committee of the  GABV: ‘To change the financial system we need a vision that takes  social and ecological impact into account when making financial decisions. This means that next to profit and risk, a banker also has to judge the social and ecological impact in the real economy.’

On the occasion of the GABV annual members’ meeting, GLS Bank is inviting leaders from business, politics and the financial services industry, as well as financial and economics experts, to Berlin for the first public conference of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). Those attending ‘Change-makers: Transforming Banking Values’ will develop visionary financial concepts and sustainable approaches for a humane future in banking and discuss practical examples.

Norbert Lammert, President of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, oepned the conference of global sustainable banks. The Czech economist Tomáš Sedláček (2012 German Economics Book Prize-winner for ‘The Economics of Good and Evil’), the co-founder of the Presencing Institute at MIT, Otto Scharmer, and the South African social entrepreneur Wendy Luhabe also attended as speakers and roundtable participants. GLS Bank, as a GABV founding member of the alliance of worldwide leading sustainable banks, established in 2009, served as host and organiser.

Media Relations

GLS Bank
Christof Lützel, Press Secretary
T +49 173 2786963

Thomas Steiner, Press Secretary
T +31 6 534 888 13

About the GABV
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is a network of banking leaders from around the world committed to advancing positive change in the banking sector. Our collective goal is to change the banking system so that it is more transparent, supports economic, social and environmental sustainability, and is composed of a diverse range of banking institutions serving the real economy.

About GLS Bank
GLS Bank is the first social-ecological full-service bank in the world. Established in 1974, the cooperative membership bank is the only bank to provide values-oriented financial investments, financing, equity capital, foundations and donations from one source.