Living Manifesto for Social Banking and the Commons

Living Manifesto for Social Banking and the Commons
Institute of Social Banking

This is the first iteration of a Living Manifesto for Social Banking and the Commons.

It is the result of our week-long Summer School bringing together leading experts in the Commons, Social Banking and Alternative Finance with practitioners from around the world, that asked the question: What is the role of Social Banking in supporting a Healthy Commons?

This Manifesto is a first iteration. In the spirit of the Commons and Commoning it can be commented on, revised and transformed by members of the Institute and the wider world. A second iteration will be published as part of the conference report, and the Manifesto will remain as a living document on the Institute’s website.


Social Banks value and support the commons as an essential part of a flourishing society and ecology, alongside the private and public sectors.

Social Banks believe in, and actively support, the un-tapped potential of all and our ability to collaboratively develop commons-based ways of organising and living that can help meet the complex ecological, social and economic challenges we collectively face.

A Living Manifesto for Social Banking and the Commons:

1. Social Banks have an evolving understanding of commons culture and commons institutions, and listen to and understand the needs and values of the commons.

2. Social Banks work to make the commons visible by telling stories about the commons, nurturing empathy and supporting the development of new commons.

3. Social Bankers help commoners find each other, and cultivate existing and new clusters of Commons activities, helping for form commons clusters and hubs.

4. Social Banks gather, develop and share open access knowledge as a commons, and in relation to the commons, by freely sharing knowledge and information.

5. Social Banks work to build long-term trust with and between their customers, which begins with a commitment to transparency in their own operations.

6. Social Banks help to promote accountability and good governance for the commons by working together to develop, revise, and keep alive good governance practice, supporting and enhancing the commons.

7. Social Banks are learning to assess the value of the commons beyond financial value, and are developing new measurements and new understanding of wider value.

8. Social Banks are helping to democratise finance by providing commons-based services for the commons by creating and maintaining appropriate sources of finance.

9. Social Banks bring together financial solutions to meet both individual needs and the needs of the commons – in addition to the services provided by banks.

10. Social Banks will play a role in encouraging the wider community and government to respect and value the commons.

11. Social Banks will pool and freely share best practice to support, develop and enhance their ability to support the commons.

12. Social Banks recognise the limits of what they can do, that the commons are strongest locally, and commit to playing their role alongside others: locally rooted and globally connected.

To access, and help shape the Living Manifesto, please visit:

Download the manifesto as a pdf here