Published: May 2, 2023
More than 200 members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) attended the 14th Annual Meeting in New York this month including Unity Trust Bank’s CEO, Deborah Hazell, and Head of Impact and Sustainability, Joshua Meek.
Unity’s mission is to help create a better society and for nearly 40 years we have supported like-minded organisations that address social, economic and environmental needs in local communities.
Unity joined GABV in 2022 – a global network of values-based banks that share a vision of using banking to make positive change happen.
Founded in 2009, GABV now has over 70 members in 45 countries and April’s two-day event, with the theme ‘Banking on a Bolder Future’, was hosted by Amalgamated Bank, one of the United States’ largest socially-responsible banks which, like Unity, was founded by trade unions.
Guest speakers included Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation who, with Laurie Spengler, CEO of Courageous Capital Advisors, explored the role of banks and partnerships in times of disruption; and Heather McGhee, bestselling author of ‘The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together’ who discussed the role of public policy in building a just world.
During the event, Unity members visited Hudson Guild, an organisation focusing on providing ‘cradle to grave’ services for low income communities in New York and learnt about the challenges of transitioning to net zero for ‘Penn South’ housing cooperative.
Delegates also had the opportunity to visit The Bronx to learn about an initiative that uses art as an outlet for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people and tour a bakery that pioneered the ‘Open Hiring’ model – creating jobs for people regardless of education, work history or social barriers.
The Annual Meeting also addressed climate issues, racial justice and economic inequality and concluded with a keynote speech from Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organisation, who talked about the importance of equity in the workforce. Read their annual report here: 2023 Executive Summary | soba.iamempowered.com
Speaking about the event, Joshua Meek said: “As an ethical bank, Unity helps small businesses and social enterprises to grow and deliver meaningful social and economic impact in UK communities. To do this well, we need to learn from global best practices and share what works to increase the positive impact we can have as a bank.
“The GABV annual meeting was a great opportunity to meet with members of like-minded financial institutions around the world to learn about approaches to managing a just transition to the climate crisis and seeing the critical role finance can play in delivering sustainable social outcomes.”