Arts and culture
During 2013 Triodos Bank finance helped make it possible for 16.3 million visitors (2012: 5.7 million) to enjoy cultural events including cinema, theatres and museums across Europe, as a result of its lending and investments activity. The increase was particularly marked as a result of lending to film-makers in Spain. This means that there were the equivalent of 31.5 cultural experiences for each Triodos Bank customer.
The arts and culture figures we use are based on the number of people who attended events, visited shows, or watched films in 2013, provided by institutions Triodos Bank finances in each of its branches. If this figure was not available we calculated the average number of people who attended a typical event or show at a particular project during the year, multiplied by the number of events it put on.
We measured at least 80% of the ‘Arts and Culture’ portfolio in each country, and extrapolated the remaining proportion based on this figure. If we were unable to measure 80% of a country's loan portfolio we have only included a figure for the proportion of the loan book that we could measure. Because of the complexity of accurately describing how many individuals they reach we have not included individual artists, musicians or their equivalent that Triodos Bank finances in this figure.
We recognise that an individual project may not have received all of its finance from Triodos Bank, and so it is not wholly responsible for its ability to put on these performances. But we believe that, typically, Triodos Bank’s financing of an arts and culture project plays a central role in its overall finances; so we can legitimately use this measure in this context.
The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are made on the basis of the average deposit per customer across its five branches. This is then matched with the same proportion of Triodos Bank’s total impact in a given sector. There were a total of 517,000 customers at the end of 2013.
Our vision and activities
Arts and culture lending
Percentage of our loans to the arts and culture sector
Lending by subsector
Our vision on arts and culture
Arts and culture play an important role in the personal development of individuals and the cohesion of society as a whole. Creative expression provides new perspectives, inspires and connects people.
Arts as a catalyst for personal and community development
Arts and culture should contribute to personal development and a vibrant civil society. They can inspire and motivate change.
The cultural sector is dynamic and versatile. Cultural entrepreneurship is booming. Many institutions are wholly or partly commercial and target a wide and diverse audience. Triodos Bank fits in to the dynamics of a sector with this entrepreneurial focus and finances innovative cultural entrepreneurs to help increase its impact.
Based on its long-standing commitment to art and culture, Triodos Bank has a leading position in the sector. It develops innovative finance instruments such as guarantee funds. To do this we work together with governments, industry associations and consultants.
A broad church
We focus on cultural initiatives, regardless of their size, that focus on different activities such as – to use a real example – a stage, museum and a restaurant in one company.
Alongside this lending, we have a fund (Triodos Cultuurfonds) for Dutch clients. Launched in 2006, the Fund has pioneered arts and culture finance, helping to make the sector less dependent on subsidies, grants and charity by encouraging cultural entrepreneurship.
Triodos Bank will focus in the future on strengthening local networks and local cultural entrepreneurship.
The benefits to society of the Arts
‘Connection’ is central to our vision in the cultural sector. Triodos Bank finances artists and cultural institutions that bridge, and connect, with society.
This usually involves a combination of high artistic quality and broad accessibility. Connecting with the community is done in many ways: by reaching broad audiences, and by dealing with other parties, such as sponsors, businesses, social institutions and banks. In addition, there is a connection with amateur practitioners who are active in the local area and contribute to social cohesion.
Futbolín – Financing cinema
The experience has been very positive, positioning Triodos Bank as a key financial partner for these kinds of projects with a loan portfolio of EUR 20 million.
In recent years, within the cultural sector, the creative industry has performed as a very active and interesting subsector to invest in, both from a qualitative and business perspective. In Europe, the cultural industry employed 8.5 million people in 2008 representing 4.5% of GDP, according to a study of TERA Consultants in 2010. In Spain, the cultural industry represents around 4% of GDP and employs more than 625,000 people.
More specifically, cinema production is one of the more active cultural industries. In Spain, Triodos Bank has become a key financial partner for big and small film projects, gathering knowledge and experience about how the film business works.
Market challenges and innovation
Due to the economic crisis in Spain, public subsidies to the cultural sector in 2012 and 2013 were cut significantly, by 21.2% and 30% respectively. The film industry has been one of the most affected, with cuts of 35% in the 2013 budget. The reduction will continue this year, with a further cut of around 14%. An increase of cultural VAT to 21%, also in 2013, has to be added to this figure for a true picture of the negative impact, in figures, on the cultural sector. The third big problem that the sector faces is intellectual property piracy.
Given this need and on the strength of the expertise we have developed in this sector, together with our partner Audiovisual SGR, a mutual guarantee society, and against a backdrop of declining public finances, we expect to continue to support the development of the film industry in Spain in the future.
Our experience and learning
Ignacio Benedeti is the founder of a small independent film producer in Galicia, IB Cinema. A close relationship has been established with Ignacio ever since Triodos Bank gave a loan to this company in 2002 to produce the documentary ‘Mercado de Futuros’ (Futures Market).
The Spanish Managing Director made visits to Galicia to learn about the film industry from Ignacio and what we needed to know as a bank in order to start financing more projects in the sector. Benedeti was happy to share his experience describing the challenges, current situation and unique features of the film world in Spain. Audiovisual SGR, a mutual guarantee company that focuses on small and medium-sized film and performing arts companies, emerged as an interesting organisation from this conversation.
We contacted Audiovisual SGR and signed an agreement with them in January 2012 to facilitate guaranteed lending to cultural activities (SGR can guarantee up to EUR 1.2 million). It’s an agreement where both parties benefit: Triodos Bank, because we can be active in a very interesting sector with low risk; Audiovisual SGR, because they can offer lending solutions to companies asking for financial help; and the film and performing arts companies, that find financial support for their projects from a values-based bank that’s aligned with them.
One month later, we reinforced the Cultural cluster team in our Business Banking department, including a person with extensive experience and broad contacts in the audiovisual sector.
The experience of these two years has been very positive, positioning Triodos Bank as a key financial partner for these kinds of projects with a loan portfolio of EUR 20 million. In the last quarter of 2013, Triodos Bank signed an agreement with another public institution in Catalonia, ICEC (Catalonian Institute for Cultural Businesses), to offer guaranteed lending to film projects within the region.
Triodos Bank has gathered experience in the sector, so it can now lend to more complex projects, together with the SGR.
We continue to develop new financial solutions for the sector, to meet the specific needs of existing and new customers. We listen to their requirements and try to find solutions that satisfy both parties. But, as a bank, we do not take box office risks.
As a challenge, we have to consolidate ourselves as the bank of the sector, becoming more visible and providing more and better service from a risk, qualitative and quantitative point of view. We have to expand our offer not only to film producers, but also to other companies in the sector such as film theatres, distributors, and others. We have also found some dilemmas regarding the qualitative aspect of the proposals, justifying decisions not to invest in some projects. As we gather more experience in the sector, we will better refine our own vision on it.
‘Futbolín’ (Table soccer) is a Spanish-Argentinean 3D animation production. At the time of writing, the movie had raised EUR 2.8 million and reached an audience of around 480,000 people in Spain (source: Plural + Jempsa SL film producer). It has won a Goya Award, the most important prize in Spanish cinema, in the animation category.
The movie, directed by a well-known and Oscar winning Argentinean director, José Campanella, was first shown in Argentina, where it was the biggest box office draw film in the country, reaching more than EUR 7.5 million people.
The proposal to finance the project came from Audiovisual SGR. Triodos Bank has financed around 10% of the movie’s EUR 11 million budget.
The deal was complex and took a lot of time and effort, because it was the second big film project we had financed. But for us, we believe that this is an investment in the future and we are using this experience to benefit other clients in this growing sector.