InFocus: Evangelische Bank & FNG

Who?

Evangelische Bank eG is a well-established mutual financial institution. It is firmly rooted in the church and charity financial cycle and committed to Christian values. As a modern financial services provider, it offers specialised expertise and comprehensive financing solutions to ecclesiastical and charity organisations and social enterprises. With a balance sheet total of 7.1 billion euros, Evangelische Bank eG is Germany’s biggest ecclesiastical bank and also one of the country’s ten largest cooperatives.

As Germany’s leading ecclesiastical bank with a focus on sustainability, Evangelische Bank eG is a specialised financing partner for churches, major German church charities such as Diakonie and Caritas, secular NGOs and social enterprises as well as private customers who subscribe to a Christian set of values. Nationwide, more than 480 employees provide services to around 19,000 institutional customers and approx. 72,000 private customers at 14 locations.

When?

The ecclesiastical bank has been a member of Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) and its European umbrella organisation Eurosif – European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum Since October 2009. Evangelische Bank eG believes that Eurosif pursues a wide range of activities aimed at raising the political and social awareness of the issue of investments and sustainability. In essence, Eurosif is a lobbyist for a good cause, a commitment Evangelische Bank eG can wholeheartedly support as both organisations are dedicated to the greater good.

Why?

As an ecclesiastical bank with a cooperative structure, Evangelische Bank eG assumes corporate responsibility towards the environment, society, its members and customers in the form of a sustainable business model. It is guided by the Christian values that are a firm element of the bank’s self-image. Evangelische Bank eG acts sustainably by focusing on its customers and members; the ecclesiastical bank therefore designs its products and services in a way that specifically meets the particular requirements and specific needs of its customers and members. As a financially sound and well-performing bank with a well-balanced risk and opportunities profile and stable, sustained growth, it emphasises the premise of doing business in a sustainable way. This is not only reflected by its economic but also by its ecological and social-ethical conduct. Due to its comprehensively sustainable basic approach, Evangelische Bank eG is therefore a perfect partner for Eurosif. 

What?

As a member of FNG and Eurosif, increased public awareness of sustainable financial investments is a major added value for Evangelische Bank eG. In the past few years, the term “sustainability” has been adopted by many parts of society, and it is now applied to many different things. The use of this term has spread at an almost inflationary rate; although it is not necessarily applied in the sense Evangelische Bank eG feels it should be. In order to narrow down the meaning of the term “sustainability”, it is important to continue redefining it and to clearly delineate its meaning. The Forum’s outstandingly strong commitment makes a huge contribution to this more precise definition of the concept of sustainability. 

With their ideas and their dedication to the issue, FNG and Eurosif are also always important ports of call with expert knowledge for the cooperative ecclesiastical bank. All members are stimulated by participative processes and mutual dialogue. The FNG regularly shares information in the form of event attendance or newsletters. For example, the ecclesiastical bank publishes specific information about its sustainability approach in the FNG newsletter. For Evangelische Bank eG, the dialogue with like-minded banks, investment companies, investors and research providers perfects the communication aspect. 

 

Michael Hepers, Institutional Director of Evangelische Bank

SIF

FNG is the SIF in the German speaking countries. Founded in 2001, today it includes over 180 members in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. FNG has set itself the goal of informing the public, investors and decision-makers on all politics, business and science regarding SRI.

FNG has recently been working on the following projects:

  • FNG-Label: Since 2015, FNG has labelled sustainable investment funds that have reached the minimum criteria.
  • Education: This EU-supported training course is addressed to financial advisors who want to improve their skills in the field of SRI.
  • Status quo of the German sustainable financial sector: Financed by the Ministries of Environment and Finance, FNG researched the market of sustainable financial economy.
  • GreenUpInvest: The objective of the Green Start-Up Investment Alliance, funded by the German National Climate Protection Initiative, is to strengthen and advance start-up financing in Germany.

Furthermore, FNG takes positions on the regulation of ESG topics: Proposals for the Hub for Sustainable Finance, FNG-Positions regarding the survey of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, Statement to the results of the latest G20 summit in Hamburg, Open letter to Dr. Schäuble, Minister of Finance and Dr. Weidemann, Governor of the German Central Bank regarding the German G20 presidency etc.

FNG also publishes the annual “FNG-SRI-Marktbericht”, a study of the SRI market in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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