The idea of Oikocredit started at a 1968 meeting of the World Council of Churches with young politically engaged church members, from a variety of denominations, calling for an ethical investment channel that supports peace and universal solidarity.
At this time, the concept of Oikocredit was both innovative and controversial. Against the backdrop of world unrest over issues including Apartheid in South Africa and the Vietnam War, church members wanted assurance that church investments were promoting peace and positive development.
To support this, the Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society (EDCS) was founded in 1975. ECDS provided churches and church-related organisations with their own alternative investment channel.
From the start Oikocredit’s goal was to promote social justice by providing credit to productive enterprises run by disadvantaged people.
Our investors and partners are our biggest asset
Many individual church members around Europe believed in the concept of social investment and launched support associations. The idea of lending to organisations which helped disadvantaged people gradually gained support among institutional and individual investors, and in 1978 EDCS invested in its first projects: one in India, and one in Ecuador. Oikocredit still operates in both countries today, and the support associations continue to mobilise the largest portion of Oikocredit’s member capital.
Over time, our partners have proven the viability of Oikocredit. Our ability to support their remarkable social impact remains our greatest asset.