We had a chance to talk with Paula Martin, Advisor to the CEO at Vancity, and a Senior Advisor to the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) about the recent GABV Summit Vancity hosted in Vancouver, Canada.
Vancity has been a values-based credit union since before the concept existed. It’s who we are and who we have been since 1946 when we were established by a small group of citizens who couldn’t get their needs met by existing banks. In many ways, we are paving a new way to bank, and like all GABV members, we believe that how we allocate our capital has the power to create positive change. Being part of a global network with like-minded peers who are also committed to a triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic sustainability means we aren’t doing it alone. There are others we can learn from and support. It is an inspirational community of financial leaders and we learn from each other as we challenge the conventions of how banking is done.
Can you share more about the choice to focus on Migrants, #MeToo and Melting Icecaps?
We chose these themes for the Summit because they are among the most difficult challenges our global community faces and they provided a lens through which we could examine the role of banking. No matter where you are in the world, issues related to displaced people, gender equity, and climate change resonate. As values-based bankers, they are issues that, while global, are local to each of us. We selected these from a long list of issues that could have been equally compelling as ways to examine the role of banking in society.
Were there any opinions or questions raised by audience members that brought a new lens or perspective to the key issues discussed?
Many. The Summit was designed to hear from international voices; our speakers were people who are on the front line of these issues in many different parts of the world. Equally, we made room for discussion and engagement by our 600 attendees from many diverse backgrounds, each of whom brought interesting and challenging grassroots perspectives. As one of the outcomes of the Summit, the GABV will be publishing a document that will capture the variety of perspectives, questions and opinions so that we may reflect further on them as we develop the next phase of the values-based banking movement.