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Conference looks to transform ‘broken’ financial infrastructure



Campaigners, economists and financiers are gathering in London on Friday for a conference to work out how to transform the finance industry, so that unsustainable investment and irresponsible banking are outlawed.

Transforming Finance is organised by Friends of the Earth, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, ShareAction, the World Development Movement and Positive Money, among others.

Taking place at Chartered Accountants’ Hall in the heart of the capital, the conference will look at how to create and maintain a stable financial system for the long-term.

Our broken financial infrastructure has let society, the environment and our economy down. It’s time to build a new system out of the rubble of the old”, said Craig Bennett, policy and campaigns director at Friends of the Earth, who is set to give the conference’s opening address.

Politicians must play close attention to bold ideas for creating a clean, sustainable and prosperous economy – from enabling communities and small business to access cash to preventing another damaging crash.

With stormy economic and environmental weather ahead, this conference will help crystallise a new way of thinking to make our finance system work for us all, not just the 1%.”

Panel discussions will take place on such areas as socially useful investment, diversity in banking and rehumanising money. Panellists include Ben Dyson of Positive Money, Raj Thamotheram of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets and Paul Ellis of Ecology Building Society.

But the day will also see the launch of the Charter for a New Financial System. This is a list of attributes that a new, improved financial system might boast, including greater competition and improved transparency. The Guardian’s Heather Stewart outlined all 10 measures in an article last Sunday.

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) recently said in its Berlin declaration document, that in order for banking institutions to become more stable, and tailored more towards society and the environment, they need to focus on transparency, sustainability and diversity.

This was followed by a survey by consumer group Which?, in which 86% of people said banks should be forced to follow a code of conduct in a similar fashion to how doctors and lawyers are policed. It’s hoped this method of regulation would signal an end to the countless scandals and misdemeanours in the mainstream arena.

Further reading:

Economic historian Lord Skidelsky: we need to transform money for good

Majority of Britons want to see guidelines to end irresponsible banking

Will Barclays become the world’s first ethical banking superpower?

The long-term matters, and sustainable investment holds the key to prosperity

The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2013


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