Ethical banking is a financial system that embraces socially and environmentally conscious practices. The grounds for ethical banking are based on principles of human dignity and the common good, which are used to establish the right governance systems.
Ethical financing spans from day-to-day financial transactions, providing alternative banking solutions, to investment portfolios. Ethical banks, at times, reap narrower profit margins than traditional banks, but with more emphasis on sustainability. The key to ethical banking derives from identifying universal principles and applying them to operational practices. These four elements characterize ethical banking.
Community involvement in ethical banking refers to the incorporation of sustainable solutions to their practices and collaborating with their customers in tackling economic and social issues. Most ethical financial institutions adopt measures set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Because financial institutions may not be able to handle sustainability on their own, they do so by launching ethical initiatives that allow customers to contribute to causes that have positive impacts on social or environmental development in the community. Such efforts include the redwood fund by Aspiration that’s targeted towards fossil fuel-free investments.
One of the essential contributing factors to transparency in an ethical financial environment is keeping open and clear lines of communication between the financial service and its customers. Communication is a management strategy that shapes meaning, builds trust, creates reputation, and manages the relationships between all the stakeholders involved.
Ethical banking includes transparency within its corporate values. Besides the values, customers are more interested in witnessing the social impact and results of their investments.
Consistent Internal and External ethics
The internal ethics are concerned with the well-being of employees, customers, their satisfaction, and social issues related to their economic environment. The external ethics, on the other hand, are concerned with the consequences of the business.
The key to ensuring consistency in the ethical environment is making sure that these institutions practice their codes of ethics. This means applying the same principles to their operations with aspects of how they approach employee and customer relations, unionization, and fair representation.
There is a significant role of integrity in informing the compliance of banks and financial services to industry guidelines. Ethical banking plays a critical role in holding the banking services responsible for their customers. Compliance in ethical banking means enforcing honesty in business practices and choosing humanity over profits.
Principle-based assessment accounts as one of the major components in ensuring that an ethics-fueled financial environment is enforced.
Banks play an intermediary role in the economy. Financial institutions and banks are in a position to provide extensive contributions to sustainable development. With a comparative advantage in knowledge about different sectors of the economy, ethical banking can be easy to apply.
One of the ways ethical banking is making progress is by adapting modern technology to conduct operations and focusing their efforts on the younger generation of socially-conscious individuals. Ethical banking is moving towards a more objective approach that provides personalized services as well. While there are differences between ethical banks, they share common principles and desires in the projects they fund.