Oikocredit supports GABV’s Statement of Peace

Oikocredit supports GABV’s Statement of Peace

8D9F0C1F-D90F-4A58-87A2-D0B68F7E9D78.JPEG03 april | 2024

In line with its ecumenical roots, Oikocredit remains committed to supporting a just and peaceful world where resources are shared sustainably and all people are empowered with the choices they need to create a life of dignity.

Oikocredit has endorsed the Statement of Peace issued by its partner, the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). The declaration condemns violence and urges mainstream financial institutions to divest from the arms sector. It was issued in Milan on 28 February 2024.

The global financial sector – including major banks, large insurance companies, investment funds, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and public institutions – are facilitating military conflicts with at least US$ 1 trillion invested in the arms industry between 2020 and 2022, GABV said in its new report, Finance for War. Finance for Peace.

GABV is a network of independent banks using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Oikocredit is a strategic partner of GABV.

In conjunction with the launch of the report, the GABV presented the Milan Declaration: A Statement for Peace, urging financial institutions to divest from the arms industry, and rejecting that financing of arms and armaments meet any definition of sustainable financing.

Martin Rohner, Executive Director of the GABV, said: “Peace is a precondition for financing positive social and environmental change. That’s why financing the arms industry is at odds with any definition of sustainable finance. And it’s why the values-based banking movement have chosen not to finance arms. We call on the financial industry to stop fuelling the production of, and trade in, weapons and arms. And let’s start to all profit from peace, not war.”

Mirjam ’t Lam, Managing Director, Oikocredit, was present when the declaration was issued in Milan. “The GABV call resonates deeply with Oikocredit’s own mission and values. Inspired by our ecumenical roots, Oikocredit envisions a global, just society in which resources are shared sustainably and all people are empowered with the choices they need to create a life of dignity. We continue to encourage people to invest their money responsibly and promote peace and equal opportunities by empowering those in need to improve their lives,” she said.

Created to promote peace and solidarity

Oikocredit was established in 1975 to serve as an ethical investment channel that supports peace and universal solidarity. The idea for the cooperative was born several years earlier, at the 1968 meeting of the World Council of Churches. At the time, issues such as apartheid in South Africa and the Vietnam War were causing widespread unrest and church members wanted to use church investments to promote peace and inclusive development.

The past few years have shown that Oikocredit’s approach is more important than ever. Although Ukraine and Gaza have dominated headlines, conflict remains pervasive and widespread around the world – but often does not garner strong media attention.

One in six people are estimated to have been exposed to conflict worldwide since the start of 2024, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project crisis mapping initiative. Over 147,000 conflict events were recorded last year, and at least 167,800 fatalities.

Separately, the Global Peace Index 2023 report estimates that the total number of conflict-related deaths nearly doubled in 2023, with an increase of 96%.

Building resilience in the face of uncertainty

The world is already dealing with crises on a number of fronts, from the impact of a changing climate and environmental degradation to natural disasters, and global and local health emergencies.

“People with low incomes are always the most affected by conflicts and disasters of any kind. With our partners, we work to build greater resilience in the face of increasing uncertainty,” said Mirjam ’t Lam. “Peace is essential to fostering prosperity and building just, equitable societies. Oikocredit was created as a clear alternative to investing in war and repressive regimes and we will continue to avoid arms-related investments in support of creating a peaceful world where everyone can create a life of dignity.”

The vision of values-based banking, represented by the GABV, stands firm against financing arms production or trade. The 71 GABV member banks have no material exposure to the arms industry, with more than two thirds (73%) adopting explicit policies to exclude weapons of any kind from loans and investments.

« Tillbaka