Jump to Content Jump to Navigation
Go to home page


Our position describes what we base our decisions on. Discover here, what socio-ecological criteria our position is based on and how we make sustainable banking tangible.

GLS Bank Illustration Haltung im Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2020 | Sozial-ökologische Entscheidungskriterien für nachhaltiges Banking


The position of the GLS Bank

The GLS Banks social and ecological position is our defining feature. This persistent, determined stance on sustainability makes us unique in the German financial industry. We align all our decisions with our position and thus translate our vision into concrete actions. This assures credibility, consistency, and authenticity to our customers and on the market.

Our position is expressed in the following key elements:

Our position not only influences how we work as a bank, but it is also the foundation for our political commitment. More information on our political demands can be found in the chapter ‘Scalability‘.

Mission Statement

Our core values

The foundation of our work at the GLS bank is built on respect for the diversity of life and nature, as well as the care for a peaceful coexistence of all cultures, based on individual freedom and responsibility. We understand the human as a whole, made of body, soul, and spirit. Our actions should maintain a balance in natural of current and future generations and promote their further development. We understand ecology in a holistic sense as a union of nature and the development of civilization, with the goal to protect and preserve life. What we offer speaks to people, who want to pursue ecological, social, or cultural goals and want to creatively help shape our society. Together, we develop new forms of banking, defined by solidarity and responsibility for our environment.

Working with us

We work with people and organizations, which are just as socially active as we are and who take responsibility not only for themselves, regardless of their origins and world view. We are open to working with all those who pursue a socially just society and like us, want to work together in networks to achieve it. Our strength lies in partnerships which centres around the human being. Together with our customers, members, or other business partners we enter into lasting relationships based on innovation, reliability and commitment.

GRI references: GRI 102-27, GRI 408-1, GRI 409-1, GRI 410-1, GRI 411-1, GRI 412-1, GRI 412-3, GRI FS9.


Those who work at GLS Bank chose a special task. We bring our specialist, personal, social, and entrepreneurial abilities into our work and consistently develop them further. Our corporate culture is defined by an open and honest way of dealing with each other. We foster respectful dialogue in purposeful functional hierarchies and a leadership style which is based on a holistic view of the person. The people involved are included in change processes early on and decisions are communicated transparently out of trust for common ideals.

Photo: Tanja Münnich

Methods and tools

We use money as a social means of design, which gives us the possibility to combine professional financial service with contemporary concerns. Through the conscious and use-oriented handling of money we promote and shape a sustainable development of our society together with our customers and clearly convey the different qualities of money in buying, lending, and gifting.

We create transparency in banking by regularly and publicly reporting on all our credits and loans, shares, and donations. This way, all our investors are given the opportunity to intentionally follow the social impact of their investment decision.

We do not only go into dialogue with our customers about the quality of our services, friendliness, speed, availability, and professional competence, but also seek out an exchange on the societal relevance of our financing.


Purpose is always at the centre of our entrepreneurial activity. Our economic goal is the long-term securing of our company and its continuous development. We want to promote the social impact of a transparent, use-oriented socio-ecological bank business through qualitative and quantitative growth. Our business processes are clearly structured, comprehensibly organized for all people involved and executed in an effective and resource-conserving manner. Together, they are being continuously being developed and optimized, to create freedoms and make a different kind of dealing with money possible for us and our customers.

Investment and financing principles

Our guiding principles

Our investment and financing principles as well as our bonds and share business are based on our exclusion criteria and positive criteria.

Maintaining and developing our basis for life is a necessary prerequisite and economic profit is a consequence of our actions. The criteria of the sustainability assessment are based on current developments as well as our understanding of sustainability. When standards, sector, and technology develop, we change our criteria accordingly too.

The interdisciplinary and independent investment committee is responsible for the selection of all bonds, which we offer in our portfolio and the own investments of the GLS Bank. The selection and decision process is described in the document “GLS Nachhaltigkeitsresearch“. The GLS Bank finances small and medium-sized enterprises as well as non-profit organizations with headquarters in Germany – occasionally in Austria and the Netherlands – and offers shares.

Sectors: this is what the GLS Bank finances

  • 30%

    Renewable Energies

    Investments for energy generation from wind, sun, biomass (wood), and biogas (exclusively farmsteads in organic farming)

  • 28%


    Housing projects, residential properties and private construction financing

  • 7%

    Food and nutrition

    Organic food, ecological farming

  • 11%

    Education & Culture

    Schools and kindergardens, vocational and adult education, culture

  • 16%

    Social matters & Health

    Life in old age, institutions for handicapped, health, child and youth welfare

  • 9%

    Sustainable economy

    Socio-ecologial products and services

This is where we do (not) invest:

Lending principles

All credits are allocated according to our investment and finance principles. Proximity to our customers and a long-term trusting relationship with them are crucial for this. Money should always serve as a means to satisfy the people’s basic needs. That is why we pay special attention to the social, ecological, cultural, and economic goals that are being pursued when giving out a loan. Every lending decision is a unique decision, considering the personal background of the borrower and paying close attention to potential conflicts of interest. Only if the borrower and their financing projects are a fit for the GLS Bank the conventional examination of their creditworthiness is taking place. In 2021 our credit growth within our six sectors grew another 1.135 million Euros to 4.5 billion Euros. The sectors housing (30 percent of new loans in 2021) and renewable energies (23 percent of new loans in 2021) grew the strongest, which represent the biggest sectors of our loan portfolio in absolute numbers as well: renewable energies with 1.379 million Euros and housing with 1.215 million Euros.

GRI references: GRI 102-27, GRI 408-1, GRI 409-1, GRI 410-1, GRI 411-1, GRI 412-1, GRI 412-3, GRI FS9.