BankWiser; the wise choice for banks interested in contributing to a sustainable future

Most people use bank services daily. But how do we choose our bank initially?
The closest ATM? The higher interest rate? Some of us may be interested in choosing a bank that has high standards regarding social and environmental responsibilities but don’t really know how to go about finding such a bank. Here we introduce BankWiser, a tool from Europe that helps consumers make a wise choice when selecting a bank.

What is BankWiser?

BankWiser is a tool that helps consumers find a bank with investment policies that match their social, economic or environmental standards.
At the Bankwiser website, consumers can find the best bank for them by selecting issues of their interest (climate change, human rights, etc.) along with an industry or business (forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.) of their interest. The website not only finds the best match for you, but it also allows you to create an account on the spot.

In the 3 years since its launch in January 2009, the website has had over 250,000 visitors. Of these visitors, over 10% or 20,000 people, used the Bankwiser website to switch their bank account to one that better match their standards.

As a result, in order to secure customers, the banks were encouraged to develop and raise the standards of their investments policies with more consideration to environmental and social issues. In the Netherlands where Bankwiser was first introduced, in just 4 years 15 banks launched over 105 new CSR initiatives. Most banks increased their investment in green energy and measureable changes were made in the weapons and arms trade investment policies. It has also produced valuable results in the areas of child labor, human rights and social work.

How Bankwiser started and how it spread around the world

Bankwiser was launched in the Netherlands in 2009 as a joint project between NGO Oxfam Novib (Netherlands) and Amnesty International Netherland. They invited other countries to join and by 2012, countries in North American/ Europe such as Germany, Sweden and USA; countries in Asia such as India and China; as well as developing countries such as Brazil had joined the initiative. In Japan, the international youth environmental NGO, A SEED JAPAN, is considering collaboration. A SEED JAPAN has a track record in Japan for its Eco Savings project.

In addition to organizing the Bankwiser website, the NGOs work together with consumers to make policy suggestions in an effort to get the consumer’s voice heard by the banks.

Points for partnership

The Bankwiser website was successful because it benefits both the consumer and bank. For the consumer, it is an easy way to support polities and activities for building a more sustainable society. For the bank, it provides material for improving their investment standards and policy which in turn will help secure further customers.
BankWiser is a system where consumers and banks work together in promoting a sustainable flow of money for tackling social and environmental issues.


Cooperative action by diverse actors 



NGOs, Banks