English: etika in a nutshell

, von Ekkehart Schmidt

Etika was established in 1996 as an independent non-profit organisation in Luxembourg to foster social finance by providing objective information on ethical investing.

Etika is an association founded by associations, which are active in the field of environmental protection, the promotion of biodynamic agriculture, the promotion of positive social action and the international solidarity.

The association has nine members:
- Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM),
- Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA),
- Cercle de coopération des ONG de développement,
- Coopérative Co-labor,
- Fondation Caritas Luxembourg,
- Haus vun der Natur,
- Inter-Actions,
- Stëftung Ökofonds,
- Veräin fir biologesch dynamesch Landwirtschaft Lëtzebuerg (Demeter Bond).

Etika was founded to respond to two needs:

1. to propose the Luxembourgian investor financial products, which guarantee both the responsible character of the investment (promotion of projects having a strong social and/or environmental added value, which exclude projects that have a negative impact on humans or the environment) and the transparency of the money invested as well as the object of the investment

2. raising awareness of the Luxembourgian population for the products of SRI (socially responsible investment) regardless of the promotion of a particular project or a particular institution

Etika has created an „alternative savings account“ in collaboration with the Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, which constitutes an important aspect of its work. This account is similar to a classical savings account in terms of security (the capital and the interests are guaranteed) and the liquidity of the account. It differs from the classical savings account in the sense that it responds to the criteria of transparency and responsibility. The “alternative saver” accepts a somewhat lower interest rate compared to that of the classical account, which allows the BCEE to hand out the credit at a lower interest rate to projects which have been retained by etika and by the bank.

By accepting a lower interest rate on their deposits (0,2% instead of 0,2% since september 2013), investors make it possible for etika to grant loans at favourable interest rates (0,5% lower than usual) to finance socially responsible projects in Luxembourg and in developing countries. By way of example, etika granted a bridging loan guarantee for the expansion of the micro credit programme LUXMINT and assists various projects in the domains of renewable energies, ecological agriculture or distribution of biological food.

The structures of etika are:

  • the board of directors, who decide the general guidelines of the association
  • the credit committee, which evaluates the merit of the proposed projects in the light of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

The members of the two bodies are volunteers, named by the general assembly of the association. Two employees round up the team.

Today there are about 1124 people holding an alternative savings account and invested 52,8 million euros, with which it was possible to finance about 200 projects in different sectors, like:

  • the production of renewable energies
  • the production and distribution of organically grown food
  • the promotion of positive social action for the weaker parts of the population
  • the promotion of cultural diversity
  • the revival of local communities
  • actions of development in less developed countries

Everyone holding an alternative savings account is regularly informed through the bulletin “etikaINFO” on how the savings are invested, and which is published three times a year on paper and online as well as in the annual report.

To raise the awareness of the Luxembourgian population, of the financial community and of the public authorities on the question of social finance and SRI, etika organizes public conferences, teaches in schools, produces expositions or different publications. Etika published for example the first ever socially responsible investment guide for Luxembourg in 2007 (new edition in 2009).

From 2012 to 2014 etika was represented in the board of directors of INAISE, the International Association of Investors in the Social Economy.

On our homepage we describe our projects in French and German.

But please feel free to write us and ask questions in English.

Key figures: Evolution of the alternative savings account until 30 june 2017

Total savings in millions of Euro: 52,8 million
Number of accounts: 1124