Success stories

Zadruga za etično financiranje – Cooperative for Ethical Financing

Zadruga za etično financiranje – Cooperative for Ethical Financing (ZEF) is an ambitious project initiated in 2014 at the Earth Day with 101 founders, the greatest number of the cooperative founders in Croatia.

The members of the cooperative are physical and legal persons interested in development of economy based on democracy, social responsibility, transparency and solidarity. Besides individuals, members include enterprises, cooperatives, artisans, family farms, civil society organizations, trade unions, local action groups, local governments, developmental agencies, universities, etc. In 2017, the Cooperative has more than 1.100 members. The cooperative represents a platform for mutual networking, cooperation and sales of products and services among members, access to business and financial services and resources, support in project development, as well as opportunity for project and EU financing and other synergistic advantages offered by the membership.

One of the main goals of the cooperative is founding of its own financial institution, first ethical bank in Croatia. The Ethical Bank will be registered and formed as a joint-stock company and its sole shareholder, or 100% owner, will be the Cooperative for Ethical Financing (CEF). Regardless of the amount of funds invested in the ethical bank or when they joined the bank, every member will have the same voting right in the assembly. The decisions of the assembly will be communicated through the president of CEF as one being the only member of the joint-stock company assembly.

Hence, the Ethical Bank is designed as an ethical development bank owned and co-managed by its members. The bank will serve the life needs of the members and enable finances for realization of projects based on the ethical banking best practices and values supported by the ZEF. Contribution to society and the well-being of its co-owners, instead of making a high profit, are its primary goals. The purpose of an Ethical bank is that it is “your” bank and thus your future. The ZEF as a founder of the Ethical bank is as a member of the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks (FEBEA). The Ethical Bank is in the process of licencing by the Croatian National Bank (HNB) and despite the issues regarding this regulatory process, its founders and supporters are determined to complete this process in a positive way.

The investment areas of the Ethical bank will be:

  • agriculture, especially ecological
  • renewable sources of energy
  • small and medium sized companies in manufacturing, processing and professional services
  • informatization and new technologies
  • social entrepreneurships
  • start-up businesses and novice entrepreneurial projects