The GABV, a network of eleven of the world’s leading sustainable banks, came together in Bangladesh to try to build a viable future for the financial industry. At its close, the organization is pledging to touch the lives of one billion people by 2020. It expects the growth to come from expanding the network’s membership significantly, supporting banks looking to adopt genuinely values-driven models, and the creation of new sustainable banks.

The members of the GABV spent three days near Dhaka working together to grow sustainable banking and its impact globally, focus on joint capital raising efforts, and build an infrastructure to support the development of a new generation of sustainable bankers to use it. The network’s members plan to promote and demonstrate the impact of business models which focus on solutions to the world’s most urgent social and environmental problems.

Speaking at the close of the conference, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed –co-founder of the GABV and founder and Chairperson of BRAC and the meeting’s host, says: “The members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values have committed to touch the lives of one billion people by 2020. This is a major new pledge that could transform lives on a truly global scale, and make a substantial difference in our efforts to combat climate change.”

“We believe sustainable banking – which focuses on people and the environment as well as profit – should reach one billion people by 2020 when a number of key international targets converge,” said Peter Blom, Chair and co-founder of the GABV, and CEO of European sustainable bank, Triodos. “We need to raise more money and invest in the sustainable bankers of the future so we can use this finance to its full potential. This commitment is an important line in the sand. We believe values-led banking can and should make a positive difference to the lives of one in six people within ten years.”

The GABV, which uses finance to deliver sustainable development for unserved people, communities and the environment, represents seven million customers in 20 countries, with a combined balance sheet of over $14 billion. It was launched in March 2009. Its members are profitable and many are growing rapidly during the financial crisis. But they are conspicuous in the banking industry for using their profits to deliver financial, community and environmental ends. 

The GABV has already announced a commitment to raise $250 million in new capital over three years to support the expansion of $2 billion in lending to green projects and unserved communities around the world, at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The money will be raised by investors – including existing individual customers, institutions and new investors. Extending this capital substantially in future years will help to reach the one billion target.

The conference was inaugurated by the Honorable Minister of Finance Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on 6th March. The three day conference is being hosted by BRAC Bank, the only bank from the Southeast Asia region which is one of the founder-member banks.