When you hear the word “bank”, what’s the first thought that pops into your head? Crisis or scandal? Unethical or heartless? Perhaps something more sinister? The banking industry isn’t usually positively associated with social values. However, it doesn’t need to be that way: change is often led by innovators willing to challenge the status quo.
On Saturday, I attended the Annual Meeting of Triodos Bank’s* UK operations in Bristol. It was refreshing and enlightening to learn more about a financial institution set up with human values at its core. A common thread throughout the day was the combining of people, planet and prosperity – issues not normally associated with the profit-focused banking industry.
I couldn’t help but think that this was a glimpse of the future of finance. Or rather, maybe it’s a return to the original purpose of finance and banking: to enable humans to create a greater shared prosperity.
Continue reading “Better Banking: Reflections on the Triodos UK Annual Meeting”
Getting access to finance is difficult for small entrepreneurs in developing countries. Without reliable access to the financial system, many developing country producers are struggling to participate in global trade.
In this blog post*, I will take a closer look at attempts to provide easier access to finance for fair trade producers. Organisations such as Shared Interest and Triodos Bank offer schemes which aim to provide direct loans to smaller producers. Separately, other potential innovations involving fair trade intermediated bonds or fair trade certification for futures contracts is also discussed.
Innovation in trade finance shouldn’t only be about providing easier access to capital for producers. Rather it is important to consider how financial markets can be adapted to be more inclusive of smaller entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Continue reading “Financing fairer trade”