Stepping Away from the Dark Side: A New Hope

I have been hearing a lot about sustainability in the banking sector but when I personally think about banks I think about the opposite. I think about speculation and financialising in which the traditional principles of a are far from gone. No longer do banks invest in small business owners and other local businesses but instead the savings of people like you and I are used in endless speculation and investments we know nothing about.

Never before have I personally considered what my bank was using my money for but something made me think. Being a sustainable development student I want those few pennies that I have to be invested in projects/businesses/funds which I personally feel good about.

Recently most banks are beginning to claim that they want to be a part in making the economy and society more sustainable.

moneyThis could mean that the values of the traditional banks suddenly changed and that they genuinely want to change the way of conducting business, but unfortunately I believe it is much more likely this is another convenient way of greenwashing. Because understandably it is very likely that most of the banks customers won’t be checking their banks financial activities anyway.

But although I don’t trust these conventional banks claiming they strive for sustainability, I do believe there is hope and that there is no future for conventional banks if they don’t really, truly, honestly, transparently, openly change. As with all transitions there needs to be leaders and although I am aware that there are more examples of sustainable banks I want to focus on Triodos bank. Triodos bank functions like any other conventional bank except for one very important difference, Triodos bank only invests in sustainable businesses. Where conventional banks promise low risks and high returns a bank like Triodos adds an aspect which is impact. This means that the investments made and the funds that they offer strive for positive impacts in the world.

When learning more about Triodos I actually opened a bank account immediately because I truly believe there is a future in impact investing and a sustainable banking world. Maybe because I am in contact with sustainability everyday due to my master course it is more likely that I open a sustainable bank account than others but I think there is a transition happening. So let me end my post with a very opportunistic future projection: I project that in the near future the conventional banks will die out or need to transition and there will be a new era of more sustainable banks. If the financial world can make this step everything is possible and we might even live to see a better greener world.


Yours truly,


Tim Wierks


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