A growing number of people is interested in responsible and ethical consumption. This should not only be present in what energy we use, the things we eat, or in the clothes we wear. It could also be applied to our financial products which we use on a daily basis. This philosophy forms the basis of ethical banking
Instead of your money being invested on oil companies or multinationals which leave a big ecological footprint on our planet, your money in the bank can be used for social and environmental projects. Fortunately, in Spain there is an increasing number of alternatives to traditional banking. Ethical banks contribute to the development of society and the preservation of the environment through sustainable financial products. Furthermore through the responsible and ethical use of money and its investment channels. They invest the money in transparent, responsible, supportive projects. In general these are projects that care about the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. In Spain, you’ll find the following ethical banks.
In 1971, the Triodos Foundation was created in the Netherlands. The aim is attracting funds from private donors to invest in activities with social, environmental and cultural purposes. In 1980 the foundation gave rise to Triodos Bank. Since then they have shown that it is possible to do banking differently; putting the well-being of people and the environment at the centre.
Fiare Banca Etica
This bank is the result of a union of two projects based on ethical finance: Banca Popolare Etica (an Italian cooperative bank) and Fiare. The latter has been operating in Spain since 2005. Its mission is to be ‘at the service of social transformation. This mission they want to reach through the financing of projects of the social and solidarity economy and. Furthermore, through the promotion of a culture of financial intermediation. Whereby they always keep the principles of transparency, participation, democracy and credit as a right in mind.
Founded in 1975, Oikocredit is an international credit union based in the Netherlands. Under the cooperative model of ethical finance, they are committed to poverty and the financing of projects in developing countries. Their motto is ‘Invest in people’.
For those who really do not want to know anything about interest rates, there are other projects such as FonRedess. With this fund the initiators finance projects that promote the social and solidarity economy. They won’t make a profit from it. They are funds that are generated in a mutualized way, and it is decided jointly where to invest. The only financial return is the increase in the CPI, but the social and environmental return is much higher.
The beginnings of this cooperative date back to 1995. This was the year in which the workers fired from the former Editorial Bruguera created a fund with part of the compensation received for their dismissals. The objective of this fund was to promote economic projects that create quality jobs, especially by applying the cooperative model. It is currently a self-managed cooperative of ethical and solidarity financial services that support Social and Solidarity Economy entities.
This Catalan credit cooperative dates back to 1967. Back then it carried the name of Agrupación Socio-Cultural y Tecnológica de los Ingenieros. Although their origin is in Catalonia, they currently operate throughout Spain. To be a member you must become a member of the cooperative. This cooperative stands out for its responsible investments. Furthermore, among its premises are (obviously, being ethical banking) not investing in any company that is related to weapons, tobacco or projects that harm the environment.
Arç Cooperativa and Seryes Seguros
Finally, beyond banking, we also want to recommend two entities at the ethical insurance level: these are the insurance brokerage Arç Cooperativa and Seryes Seguros. Arç Cooperativa specialises in the Social and Solidarity Economy. They offer consultancy and ethical and solidarity brokerage services, in a self-managed way, under the cooperative model.
Colonya Caixa Pollença
This savings bank is one of the last two that remain in Spain after the great crisis in the sector. Guillem Cifre de Colonya founded Colonya Caixa Pollença in 1880. He is a pedagogue and lawyer, and worked to develop projects in the cultural and social field in his town. His philosophy is the driving force to this day, being an ethical bank that uses financial assets to support social and environmentally-friendly projects.
Imagine a small box and a group of people who meet regularly to place their savings in it. This box will serve as a common fund for those who need to access to small loans. These people can use these loans to pay a domestic breakdown repair, school books for children, unexpected bills or even start a small business. Wikomun is a digital platform that gives the users tools to manage savings communities. In this regard, savings groups or communities are groups of individuals who come together to save together. Their goal is to offer each other micro-credits at agreed interest rates. This is a model that is working very well on a small scale.
Other International Entities
If you want to have information on ethical banking entities that are not in Spain, visit the website of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Here you can find entities from all over the world. We hope it will help you. If you have tips and know of more ethical and responsible finance initiatives, we would love to receive them! (email@example.com)