Dr. Jelle Zijlstra Award 2022 Laureate in the Field of Social Responsibility and Banking | Ali Niknam

Dr. Jelle Zijlstra was the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, and President of the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, with long-standing engagement with the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands. In honour of this renowned economist, we recognize international leaders whose work champions economic national growth, generational-shifting innovation, global collaboration, or charitable commitments which dramatically improve the quality of life for society.

This episode of The Scale Lab, features the entrepreneurial journey of Ali Niknam – the founder & CEO of bunq. Source: The Scale Lab.

BUNQ’s social responsibility means that the bank, in addition to maximizing shareholder value, acts in a manner that benefits society. BUNQ understands that social responsibility has become increasingly important to investors and consumers who seek investments that are not just profitable but also contribute to the welfare of society and the environment. The crux of this strategy is to enact policies that promote an ethical balance between the dual mandates of striving for profitability and benefiting society as a whole. BUNQ’s policies include the BUNQ Easy Green project, that – with the help from Eden Reforestation Projects – plants real trees, based on financial transactions. During the Ukraine crisis, BUNQ offered to help Ukrainian refugees. At the expense of the bank, refugees can stay in hotels and apartments.

BUNQ was one of the earliest trailblazers of the mobile disruption that has become so pervasive across banking in Europe today, and one that has really taken the mantra of reimagining financial services to heart. Very much the brainchild of its entrepreneur founder Ali Niknam, whose earlier successes in business have allowed the project to remain privately funded, BUNQ puts technology front and centre in its mission to change the face of finance and be “the bank of the free”.

Social responsibility and tech-banking have proven to be important assets for the economic development of The Netherlands. BUNQ’s CEO, Ali Niknam, focuses on giving consumers and businesses full control of their money while contributing to society and the environment. This is a key consideration for the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands to issue this year’s Dr. Jelle Zijlstra Award in the fields of Social Responsibility and Banking to Ali Niknam.