Aybala Şimşek
Executive Vice President, Şekerbank

Representing UNEP FI member: Sekerbank (Turkey)

Connect with Aybala Şimşek on LinkedIn


As countries throughout the world become more polarized into two different communities, the importance of global and local common grounds becomes more crucial than ever. I believe that sustainable development goals have a big potential to create this common ground not only between countries but also in every individual country itself.

The world economy has multiplied by four in the last quarter of this century and the portion of developing countries in the World GDP has also increased substantially during this period. As a result of this process, for the first time in history, people from developing countries such as India or China have the same income level as those in European countries or the US. The structure of the World economy has changed.

However, as all of this was happening, income inequality also rose more than ever in almost every single country. Three-and-a-half billion people at the bottom of the global wealth pyramid have only 2.2% of the global wealth, whereas nearly half of the total global wealth is owned by just 33 million people.

This unsustainable trend has eradicated the middle class, which are very important for social and economic balance. As a result, with the 2008 global crisis, this unbalanced structure was revealed and the system exploded. Meanwhile, the financial sector was positioned at the center of this crisis like a scapegoat.

Now, in this low income and low margin world, both the finance sector as well as capitalism in its entirety must find a new way to be sustainable.

At this point, sustainable finance becomes a key factor for the finance industry to ensure people embrace these institutions again. In other words, sustainable development goals are the only solution for the world to ensure a good future for all.

Within this context, I believe that having the ability of seeing this picture from both sides, one from a sort of eastern country and the other, a European country, will play a critical role in sustaining this common ground.  The understanding of developing countries’ dynamics is very important to create a realistic roadmap for the European finance sector in this complex environment.

It truly excites me to think that I could have contributed, even if minutely, to establishing a finance sector that embraces and understands the perspectives of the world and each country in it.


After receiving her undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Communication at Ankara University, Aybala Şimşek went on to pursue an MBA from the Faculty of Business Administration at Bilgi University and is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School General Management Program. She began her career at a television news center and later became both a program editor and presenter. In March of 2007, Şimşek took on the position of Şekerbank T.A.Ş. Corporate Communications Department Head and in 2013; she was promoted to Group Head of Corporate Communications and Brand Management. In 2015, her responsibilities were expanded to overtaking the management of Şekerbank’s Strategy and Coordination, Sustainable Development Banking-Micro Finance Credits, Process Development, Organization and Customer Experience Management, Advertising and Media Planning, Digital Communication and Corporate Communication units as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Communications. Şimşek, who was appointed as Executive Vice President in April 2016, continues to serve in her position as Strategy and Human Resources Executive Vice President.