Values-based banks take a holistic and coherent approach to the design of their business model, being aware about potential conflicts and challenges
NO investments in unethical sectors: weapons and fossil fuel sources, Russian and Belarusian companies, any major banks exposed to Russia
Banca Etica is the first cooperative bank in Italy operating with ethical codes and approaches, and practices democratic management. Its stance and its business practise are coherent in the sense that the shareholders are collectively involved in decision-making on a variety of funding projects: welfare, social economy, environmental protection, innovation, international cooperation and culture. In face of the ongoing warfare in Ukraine, the bank took a firm position as a pacifist and committed to instil nonviolent culture from top to bottom.
Banca Etica refuses to finance unethical sectors and has always excluded the weapons business from its investments and loans. “If all the banks stopped financing weapons production, the number of armed conflicts in the world will be reduced,” they state.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, Banca Etica has swiftly taken a firm position to call out the financial sector to stop any direct and indirect investment in arms. Sound action included mobilizing the co-workers and even their members, clients to participate in a March for Peace in Assisi, Italy.
The Ukraine-Russia war also raised the energy battle between Russia and the West. General discourse has called on the West to rethink its energy dependence on Russia. In ethical banks’ interests, it could lead to an acceleration in green investments in order to diversify the sources of energy supply. For that, Banca Etica has mutual funds of Etica Sgr invest in companies that adopt ESG (environmental, social and good corporate governance) practice and exclude government bonds from countries that are questionably ethical, such as lack of civil liberty, freedom of press and political rights.
Ugo Biggeri, President of Etica Sgr, says: “We combine a socio-environmental evaluation (for which we have adopted precise methodologies) through which we try to measure the impacts environmental and social aspects of the projects we are going to finance. Some controversial sectors are excluded a priori, including fossil fuels, weapons, tobacco.”