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UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were launched by the United Nations. The SDGs, successors to the Millennium Development Goals, are a universal set of targets and indicators designed to help countries end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.

The goals are principally focused on wide-reaching action by states, business and civil society. And they resonate strongly with Triodos Bank and our essence as a values-based bank that has been working on this agenda since our founding in 1980.

Triodos Bank is clear about the path we want to take to use money consciously as a catalyst for sustainable change. And while we have our own path to take on a journey to a sustainable, low carbon and inclusive future, we welcome a framework that enables us to communicate better with our fellow travelers. The SDGs do just that. They provide powerful, new language to communicate integrated sustainability goals that are more urgent now than ever.

We expect the goals to play an increasingly important role for wider society and has the potential to be a powerful and positive agent of change in the financial industry. That’s why Triodos Bank was one of 18 Dutch financial institutions to invite the Dutch Government and Central Bank to continue to make a concerted effort to help deliver the SDGs. The initiative was the first in the world to bring together national pension funds, insurance companies and banks together around a shared SDG agenda, and included a report recommending priorities to maximise ‘SDG investing’.

Triodos Bank and the SDGs

The goals clearly articulate objectives that must be addressed at a global level. They reflect the importance of a joined up, integrated approach to the multiple challenges we face – an approach that closely reflects our own. But the SDGs, like us all, are not perfect. For example, nurturing personal development, education and inspiration are a core part of Triodos Bank’s mission and we lend to and invest in thousands of projects in the cultural sector as a result. We believe this cultural aspect is both core to developing a more sustainable society and largely absent from the SDGs.

This is the first year that Triodos Bank will include the SDGs in its reporting. We have started by mapping what we do against the SDGs and where our work is directly relevant to an SDG and a specific indicator. While we highlight how we intend to further this work in the future, specific indicators of how this will be achieved are available in other parts of the report – in the strategic objectives section, for example – and not duplicated here.

This table is a starting point; it is illustrative of some of the key areas where our work maps onto the SDGs. We expect to engage on this more actively in the coming months and report on this work further next year.

The table below lists the SDGs and Triodos Bank’s contribution to them against three categories highlighting the depth of involvement in relation to each goal. Where our activity is less core to our main work we describe the work we do in this area and our wider perspective on that goal. Where relevant we also highlight SDG targets (e.g. ‘1.5 resilience to external shocks’ below) that underpin each of the goals.

We have selected targets that are closest to our activity and aspirations, for readers with a more detailed interest in the specifics of each goal.

Level 1 – Baseline activity to ensure we are not harming these goals
Level 2 – Direct activity we take to positively influence them; and
Level 3 – Where Triodos Bank is already, or can in the future, play a catalysing role helping to stimulate the lasting systemic change that the goals demand.

This last point is important because Triodos Bank aims to work with the SDGs to genuinely ‘move the dial’ on the goals. In creating this table we have considered the spirit behind each goal and its supporting indicators, as well as the text itself, to produce a clear view of how Triodos Bank’s activity maps against them. We hope it helps our stakeholders better understand how our work relates to the SDGs and we welcome your feedback.

Click on each of the icons below to see how Triodos Bank is responding to each of the goals.

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1.5 Resilience to external shocks (for individuals and families)

Our policy is to avoid predatory lending and to undertake good due diligence when making decisions about which inclusive finance institutions to invest in.

We invest in financial institutions working for Inclusive Finance in emerging markets so they can serve people to build their assets gradually, develop small and medium-sized enterprises, improve their income earning capacity, create employment and provide a financial cushion for the future. In 2016 we provided inclusive finance for 13.7 million savers and 20.2 million borrowers in emerging markets, via 100 financial institutions.

We have pioneered Fair Trade finance including partnering with key players such as Oxfam and Fairtrade Iberica. Through the Triodos Foundation, donations are made to Fair Trade organisations such as Comercio Justo in Spain.

Triodos Bank has an active role in eradicating urban poverty in Europe, financing organisations devoted to care and social inclusion of homeless people. It finances Lits Halte Soins Santé 13, for example, managed by Le Groupe SOS, offering decent accommodation and health care to homeless people in Marseilles, France.

We integrate climate concerns and social issues, by advising these financial institutions on how to incorporate environmental issues in their business. This makes both the institutions and their clients more resilient to outside shocks.

Where appropriate we responsibly exit from investments in institutions that build their capacity to the point where they do not need our support anymore, so we can focus again on helping other institutions serving those most in need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2.4 ensure sustainable food production

We do not finance intensive agriculture and, instead, only and exclusively finances sustainable, organic agriculture.

We specialise in financing sustainable food production through our lending activity; the Triodos Organic Growth Fund (EUR 40.6 million) investing in mature, privately owned, sustainable consumer businesses; Triodos Groenfonds (EUR 773 million) investing in ‘green’ projects including sustainable food and agriculture; and the Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund provides trade finance to organic and fair trade agricultural producers in developing countries, disbursing EUR 31 million in loans in 2016.

We are the financial partner for social organisations delivering services for people struggling to meet their nutritional requirements, in Europe. We finance Pont alimentari in Spain for example, linking food surpluses in supermarkets and restaurants with people in need.

At a systemic level our finance aims to inspire the financial sector, by showing that sustainable organic and fair trade agriculture can be successfully financed in European and emerging markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3.5 drugs and substance abuse

We only finance health care providers with a human-centred approach to care ensuring health and well-being, particularly for the elderly, people with learning and physical disabilities and other disadvantaged groups such as those recovering from drugs and substance abuse.

We lend to large numbers of health care organisations whose emphasis is on quality of care, including clinics specialised in addiction treatment. Nos Pilifs, a Belgian farm and Siza in The Netherlands, provide support for people with disabilities, and are just two examples.

In numbers, that meant 35,000 elderly people in Europe benefited from care provided by initiatives financed by Triodos Bank in 2016, representing 19 days of health care financed for each Triodos Bank customer.

The Triodos Sustainable Pioneer Fund (EUR 175 million) invests in equities issued by listed companies, including medical technology firms that are pioneers in the theme of ‘healthy people’. We also take into account if companies provide access to medicine when considering them for potential investment.

We can contribute more powerfully by financing scalable projects, like Bristol Together, providing ex-offenders with employment opportunities via renovation projects. A project that has been repeated in other regions in the UK and in mainland Europe.

And we can further contribute to the debate about how to serve elderly people’s financial needs in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4.4 upskill youth and adults
4.7 promote sustainable development knowledge and skills

Our approach is to only finance education initiatives – from kindergartens to adult education – that benefit individual’s personal development and society in terms of social cohesion in general, and sustainable economic development in particular.

We lend to, and invest in, education initiatives that benefited two million people in 2016.

They include projects like World Education Berkshire, raising the profile of global issues and promoting sustainable development, human rights and social justice for schools and community groups in the UK. In Germany we have financed the Alanus Hochschule, a university with a special focus on sustainability.

We give dozens of conferences about ethical banking at schools, high schools and universities every year, including participating in the ‘Bank voor de Klas’ initiative in The Netherlands.

We can contribute to the overall education ‘mix’ by focusing our finance on diversity in the education system – through progressive educational establishments and initiatives that serve the excluded.

We also support and participate in initiatives beyond our role as a bank directly, through initiatives like HERA (Higher Education and Research Awards) in Belgium. The awards explore how master students integrate sustainable development principles into their work and recognise the importance of integrating sustainability concerns, in a holistic way, at an important stage in their development.

We want to continue to co-create innovative projects such as educativos ecológicos, (Educational organic gardens) launched by Triodos Foundation in Spain to promote crowdfunding for projects and an annual prize recognising landmark initiative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5.1 end discrimination against women

We treat all individuals equally, and particularly include people who are often excluded. In practice this leads to an explicit focus on making access to finance available to women.

We value a diverse community in Triodos Bank itself, including gender. In 2016 51.5% of Triodos Bank co-workers were women and 40% of management positions were held by women.

We finance financial institutions in developing countries and emerging economies that demonstrate a sustainable approach toward providing financial services to those traditionally excluded. In 2016 these institutions served 20.2 million loan clients, of which 83% were female.

For over 30 years Triodos Investment Management has partnered with Women’s World Banking, a global non-profit providing low-income women with access to financial tools and resources to build security and prosperity. Triodos Investment Advisory Services is a co-investment manager for the Women’s World Banking equity fund (USD 50 million).

We also lend directly to organisations working to end discrimination, like the UK’s Southall Black Sisters and Dona Activa Fòrum, which fosters entrepreneurial opportunities for women.

Triodos Bank promotes respect for rights of the LGBTI community by financing initiatives like Fundación Triángulo, which works in rural areas in Spain.

The greatest contribution we can make is to both promote and extend healthy gender diversity as an important pre-condition for our work as an institution ourselves and in how we apply the money entrusted to us, both in Europe and in developing countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean water and sanitation are topics relevant around the world. While this is not a core loan or investment theme, much of our finance takes care of both, not least through entrepreneurs financed through inclusive finance and SME lending and in sectors such as organic agriculture which support water conservation and water health. We invest, via the Triodos Sustainable Pioneer Fund in listed companies such as Hong Kong-based Beijing Enterprises Water Group, a water and sewage/waste-water treatment company that contributes to the availability of clean drinking water and the cleaning of waste water.

We also finance research to save water, through projects like Zinnae, which explores urban gardening with less water, and cooperative organisations such as Enginyeria Sense Fronteres, which promotes access to water in developing countries, as well as sustainable water management companies, like Iwater 2000, in Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


7.2 increase share of renewables globally

Our policy is not to finance fossil fuels and exclusively to finance renewable energy initiatives in the energy sector.

We finance sustainable energy via direct lending in all the countries where we operate and investments through Triodos Green Funds (EUR 773 million), Triodos Renewables Europe Fund (EUR 74 million) and via our Socially Responsible Investment Funds (EUR 1,347 million).

Fortech Wase Wind, a cooperative in Belgium, is one example.

As well as considerable impact in Europe – Triodos Bank financed more renewable energy initiatives in Europe than any other financial institution in 2015 – Triodos’ renewable energy projects also extend to emerging markets, such as hydro projects in Nepal.

In addition to numerous energy saving initiatives Triodos Bank uses 100% renewable energy in its buildings.

As well as its direct impact as a financer, Triodos Bank acts as an opinion leader in the energy space, including engaging in debate about the urgent importance of a low carbon economy and how to move towards it.

We can contribute further in the future by extending our work into new areas such as energy storage, via Triodos Bank’s European and global presence.

To make the most of our pan-European experience financing renewable energy projects, a new international role to co-ordinate our renewable energy efforts will be created in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


8.3 …encourage the growth formalisation and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including access to financial services
8.4 improve …global resource efficiency in consumption and production ...decouple economic growth and environmental degradation
8.9 …implement policies to promote sustainable tourism
8.10 strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions encourage and expand access to banking …and financial services for all

Triodos Bank has over 20 years’ experience financing microfinance and inclusive finance initiatives in emerging markets. As well as only financing the green economy in Europe, including developing lending in the sustainable tourism sector, all our banking products and services take the environment into consideration.

Our finance often leads to job creation and frequently, due to the sustainable focus of all our finance, to work that benefits the excluded – from people with disabilities to ex-offenders.

The inclusive finance activity we describe in SDG 1 above is delivered via Triodos Investment Management connecting thousands of investors with Microfinance and SME institutions in developing countries. Inclusive finance is also relevant in The Netherlands where we work with Qredits, a Dutch initiative providing microfinance loans, mentoring and online tools to support entrepreneurs.

Triodos Bank integrates resource efficiency and environmental concerns in all its products; including sustainable mortgages, credit cards for spending on sustainable products and pensions linked to front-running sustainable companies

We are continuing to extend lending to certified green sustainable tourism projects, or those working towards it, across Europe. We financed Ilunion Hoteles, a pioneer of sustainable and accessible hotels, run by the Spanish organisation for the blind, ONCE.

We intentionally look to finance companies that can act as a catalyst for deep-seated change within their industries, as inspirational examples of what’s possible in the circular economy. Dick Moby, producers of sustainable sun glasses is one example.

We partner with others who share this agenda, including co-founding the Sustainable Finance Lab.

And we celebrate and encourage front-runners in social and sustainable entrepreneurship, through initiatives like the Heart Head prize; an awards programme delivered in a number of countries where we operate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


9.3 ...increase access of small-scale …enterprises …to financial services

While we typically do not finance large-scale infrastructure projects, Triodos Bank promotes an inclusive, sustainable economy and fosters innovation; indeed Triodos Bank itself is an example of innovation in the banking sector. Our work for the inclusive finance sector supports efforts to increase access of small-scale enterprises to financial services, including affordable credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our collective work is designed to contribute to a fairer and more equitable economy in Europe and around the world. One way we do this is via investment funds that promote inclusive finance, targeting small and medium-sized businesses in emerging markets. We also aim to be a reference point for values based banking, working alongside partners in networks like the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, to promote and help deliver a fairer, more equitable society.

We have a comprehensive approach to inequality which includes financing groups in risk of social exclusion. This translates into loans to businesses and organisations that serve and employ people with disabilities or who are otherwise at risk of exclusion. We actively finance refugees through initiatives like the Spanish Commission for Refugees and are, for example, working with others to find ways to make bank accounts more accessible to refugees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


11.1 …access for all to …affordable housing
11.4 …protect and safeguard the world’s cultural …heritage

We do not finance unsustainable housing and have a proactive policy to finance social and sustainable housing as well as arts and culture projects.

Around 6.9% of our lending is in social housing providing affordable homes for often excluded groups, including housing associations across Europe. We also renovate and refurbish culturally significant buildings and monuments, like Amsterdam’s Stadsherstel.

Financing culture is a key pillar of Triodos Bank’s work. For instance, in Germany, we finance Malzfabrik, a cultural centre in the heart of Berlin, fostering creative collaboration. Les Ateliers, in France, is another example, where local cooperation has rehabilitated an industrial building into a living hub for social initiatives working for positive changes in society.

As well as lending extensively in the cultural sector across Europe, including significant participation in financing European films, Triodos launched a culture fund in 2006 to invest in cultural projects that preserve arts and culture. The fund has around EUR 100 million in assets.

We can contribute most powerfully by financing scalable, inspirational projects that change the perspective of the housing and arts and culture industries. These projects show that social, environmental and cultural objectives can and should be integrated in developing sustainable housing for the whole community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


12.2 sustainable management …of natural resources
12.5 reduce waste generation
12.6 encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices

Our products and services (see qualitative elements in the GABV scorecard) have responsible consumption ‘built in’.

We positively look to finance companies focused on reducing waste generation, and promoting reuse and recycling. We also encourage listed companies to act more sustainably, and actively promote responsible consumption.

The efficient use of natural resources is at the heart of much of our finance. We only finance organic agriculture projects, for example, and proactively look to finance businesses operating in the circular economy. The farms we finance produced the equivalent of 32 million organic meals in 2016. As well as direct lending we have an Organic Growth Fund, which invests in mature, independent, sustainable consumer businesses.

We proactively finance waste reduction and recycling businesses.

Through Triodos Investment Management’s Research department, we engage with large companies, such as Wessanen, encouraging them to improve their sustainable practices, including by voting as an investor through Triodos Bank’s Socially Responsible Investment Funds.

Through events, articles and public affairs activity we aim to promote an integrated view that responsible consumption and production is closely connected to a better quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While most of the specific SDG targets do not relate directly to Triodos Bank’s activity, much of our direct loans and investment finance aims to combat climate change, particularly through finance of the sustainable energy sector, which contributed to generating green energy equivalent to the electricity needs of 1.2 million European households and avoiding 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2016.

All of our finance aims to integrate environmental concerns, with social, cultural and economic considerations. We enable individuals and businesses to act to combat climate change through our products and services, including green mortgages that incentivise more sustainable homes and personal loans for spending on sustainable products, such as solar panels. And we participate in public initiatives to raise awareness about climate change and action to combat it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our finance in the organic sector in particular aims to reduce marine pollution by focusing on soil quality and water conservation and health.

As well as sustainable fishing projects, we have financed customers such as Submón, CRAM and Asociación EcoOcéanos in Spain, who are committed to research, conservation and public awareness about the environmental importance of underwater life and coastal ecosystems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


15.5 …halt the loss of biodiversity

Our policy is not to finance any projects that degrade natural habitats or diminish biodiversity.

As described above we finance organic agriculture, as well as conservation organisations, which sees agriculture as part of a natural system which encourages greater biodiversity, rather than one of extraction. Around 3.8% of our loans were in this sector during 2016. They include companies like organic food retailer the Better Food Company, who we helped to raise crucial funding for to open a new shop.

In France, we financed Ginkgo, an initiative that specialises in brownfield rehabilitation, offering a new life to polluted areas of land, mostly within cities and urban areas. In The Netherlands we have financed Tjermelan on the island of Terschelling who have created a dark ‘sky park’, an area where light pollution is eliminated so people can enjoy the darkness overnight.

We can contribute to systemic change by demonstrating that enterprises that are focused on greater biodiversity offer a financially viable alternative to the dominant extractive system.

We can also develop new, innovative approaches – such as crowdfunding initiatives linked to increasing education about sustainable agriculture in schools – that punch above their weight as powerful examples of what’s possible.

 

 

We actively engage on issues that relate to sustainable investing on the stock market via our research team, on topics such as palm oil, tin mining, commodity scarcity, and conflict minerals.

We partner with organisations such as WWF and Greenpeace, attracting donations for their activities though the Triodos Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We believe peaceful and inclusive societies require fair and inclusive economies focused on improving quality of life for all. Our finance is firmly focused on this goal. As well as financing some organisations directly to the promotion of a culture of peace, we specifically exclude the weapons industry from all financing activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDG

Level 1
Baseline policies and activity, to avoid doing any harm in relation to the goal

Level 2
What we do to make a meaningful difference

Level 3
The catalysing role we can play to stimulate long-term, transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


17.3 mobilise additional financial resources for developing countries

We have an open culture that encourages partnerships to help strengthen sustainable financial institutions and mobilise financial resources in developing countries.

Our aim is to enter sustainable markets early and demonstrate that they are financially viable – as we did with the renewable energy industry, lending to some of Europe’s first wind farms following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Our work in developing countries, is delivered principally through Triodos Investment Management, as described above.

Some key partnerships which impact on the SDG goals include B Corporations – Triodos Bank was the first European bank to join this initiative of responsible companies –, the Sustainable Finance Lab, and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

We can help promote systemic change by partnering with others, such as the Sustainable Finance Lab, B Corp, Global Reporting Initiative, the Global Impact Investing Network and members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of around 40 values based banks across the globe which Triodos co-founded in 2009. The network argues for a more sustainable banking sector as well as strengthening the effectiveness of its individual members.