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Triodos demonstrates power of ethical finance



Ethical bank Triodos has highlighted the positive impact its investments have made in its new annual report, demonstrating its commitment to a double bottom line that considers its environmental and social impacts as well as profits.

As more people become aware of ethical banking options, Triodos has seen its customer base grow from 454,927 at the end of 2012 to 556,146 by the end of 2013. The bank’s assets under management also grew, rising from €8 billion (£6.58bn) to €9.6 billion (£7.9bn).

Speaking about the bank’s double bottom line approach, Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank Group, said, “At Triodos the culture is a holistic culture, which means we want to serve projects by financing projects. And then of course we make some money to have continuity to grow the bank, that is a good result of that, but not the other way around.

“First comes serving projects, helping them in a sustainable way and then maybe the result is we have a profit as well at the bank. Profit comes at the end not at the beginning.”

In line with its vision, all of the banks’s loans and investments benefited sustainable projects, with almost half of these falling into the environment category, which includes renewable energy, organic food and farming and sustainable property.

Some 29% of loans and investment also went into the social sector, whilst the rest went to culture projects, municipality and private loans.

Over the course of 2013 Triodos financed 376 renewable energy projects, which in turn will meet the energy needs of 1.48 million homes. For each customer the bank financed the electricity needs of 2.8 homes, demonstrating the positive impact sustainable investors and savers can have by selecting an ethical bank.

This is also evident when looking at the organic food and farming figures. Last year the bank provided €188 million (£97m) of finance to farms and businesses within the sector, which will then produce 19 million organic meals annually.

The report also states that Triodos wants to inspire other key players in the banking sector to promote sustainability.

“We also want to influence the banking sector itself, to help develop our mission because the more sustainable, diverse and transparent the banking sector, the more we believe people’s quality of life will improve,” it said.

In order to achieve this goal Triodos plan to prove that a value-based banking model can be “commercially robust and resilient”.

Photo: Henry Burrows via flickr

Further reading:

Bloomberg Philanthropies announces $5m impact investment in solar lamp business

Impact investment ‘developing rapidly’, says UKSIF report

Why impact investment could soon be a trillion-dollar industry

Finance professionals assemble in London for impact investment conference

Impact investment: ESG practices increase risk-adjusted returns in long-term