Centuries-old house in Arequipa, Peru.

At the GABV 2018 Annual Meeting in Arequipa, Peru.

On a pleasant March evening in the courtyard of a centuries-old home in Arequipa, Peru, I moved from a conversation about value-based banking in Nepal, to another one with a colleague based in Chile who works with a financial institution in Palestine, to a third with fellows from financial institutions in Peru and Germany. Pisco Sour was served as a local string quartet played the Beatles’ “Yesterday” in a corner of the courtyard lit with a pleasant deep blue light reflecting on the volcanic sillar rock wall. The 10th annual meeting for the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) was truly a global affair.  Deetken Impact had the tremendous opportunity to attend as a guest of Cooperativa Abaco, one of 46-member institutions across the globe which together represent 42 million clients and $127 billion in assets.

The next day, after savouring a delicious lunch of ricoto relleno arequipeño, it was time for a break from participatory discussions and to attend a round of speeches and panel presentations. Tamara Vrooman, CEO of VanCity moderated a panel about the role of the financial sector with respect to gender equality. Participants discussed their experiences, including the success of  the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, with their “by women, for women” branch where every employee and client is female. Others emphasized the critical role of collecting gender disaggregated data on hiring, promotions, retention, and pay as a fundamental step to demonstrating the business case for diversity and changing company culture.

As the sun set on day two of the annual meeting, Marcos Eguiguren, CEO of the GABV, addressed the gathered global audience and spoke about the need to broaden the financial sector’s focus beyond profit to include people, and the planet. He called for the CEOs and other institutional representatives to continue to “change finance to finance change”. As a manager of social impact funds, Deetken Impact is part of the social finance movement represented by the GABV to broaden the focus of the financial sector and integrate social aims deliberately and purposefully into our investment processes and business strategies. We’re looking forward to sharing more about our vision as we talk about “Private capital and the Sustainable Development Goals” in the evening on March 20th at the Liu Institute at UBC in Vancouver.

 

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