Triodos Bank’s Executive Board provides a perspective on the wider world it operates in, its impact and activity in 2017 and its prospects for the future.
The bank’s leadership and governance is focused on sustainability, and the diversity of its leaders reflect this culture.
A triple bottom line (People, Planet, and Prosperity) approach at the core of the organisation, determines everything it does, including its approach to leadership and governance.
All Triodos Bank co-workers, especially individuals in leadership positions, are recruited because of an affinity with the sustainable values that underpin the banks’ work, as well as their professional expertise. The organisation believes that more creates a healthier culture and will have a positive impact on its achievements.
The Supervisory Board and Board of SAAT members – two key bodies in Triodos Bank’s – are appointed on the basis of the extent to which they combine professional expertise and a connection with the values that underpin the bank. If it’s necessary to prioritise one of these two elements, values take priority.
All Triodos Bank’s Boards aim to be well-diversified, with an adequate balance of nationalities, age, experience, background and gender.
The bank chooses not to be listed and a Board (the ) is entrusted with the bank’s share capital with a clear mandate to protect the mission, continuity and financial interests of investors to whom it issues depository receipts.
Triodos Bank aims to create a culture that allows all co-workers to develop professional and social skills for formal and informal leadership that’s closely linked to our mission and values. The performance of co-workers is measured on the extent to which the mission is delivered. Recruitment and performance monitoring of senior co-workers also has sustainability integrated in it.
The organisation provides learning opportunities, at all levels, to strengthen leadership’s focus on sustainability.
Information about the Board’s composition, including the Supervisory Board’s skills and experience in a competency matrix, and about its objective to have no more than 70% of its seats to be held by either gender, are published annually. Members of Triodos Bank’s Boards regularly meet Triodos Bank’s stakeholders in person.
The Board of SAAT is entrusted with the share capital of Triodos Bank and its mandate is to safeguard Triodos Bank’s mission, as well as its independence and the economic interests of the bank’s investors (or depository receipt holders).
CEO and Managing Directors regularly speak as thought leaders on values-based banking at events and via extensive media coverage in their countries. In 2017, this included:
- Convening experts, publishing a white paper and speaking at public event to propose concrete changes to the financial system to support the transition to a low carbon, sustainable future.
- The Triodos Academy provided a programme of training and organisational development to develop sustainable leadership throughout the year.
- In 2017 Triodos Bank employed 695 women (50.5%) and 682 men (49.5%). The share of women in management positions was 44%. The Executive Board is comprised of one woman and two men.
- Triodos Bank co-founded and plays a leading role in the Dutch Sustainable Finance Lab in 2010, an initiative of scientists from different disciplines focused on building a more sustainable and resilient banking sector.
The bank is organised to support its mission focus.
Triodos Bank’s organisational structure was designed from the start to both reflect and safeguard and nurture its mission.
Triodos Bank’s business model is focused on delivering its mission via a resilient and entrepreneurial institution.
In addition to a Supervisory Board that monitors the bank’s business operations and advises the Executive Board to benefit its business Triodos Bank has a structure to safeguard its mission and the interests of its investors.
As a result, all Triodos Bank's shares are held in trust by SAAT – the Foundation for the Administration of Triodos Bank Shares. SAAT then issues depository receipts for Triodos Bank shares to the public and to institutions. These depository receipts embody the economic aspects of the shares of Triodos Bank NV. In addition, it exercises the voting rights for the Triodos Bank NV shares. SAAT's Board of Management's voting decisions are guided by the bank's ethical goals and mission, its business interests, and the interests of the depository receipt holders. Triodos Bank depository receipts are not listed on any stock exchange, to avoid speculative investment and further safeguard its mission. Instead, it maintains an internal market.
Branches in five European countries offer sustainable savings and lending products and services and our bound by the same mission and identity. Triodos Investment Management, a 100% subsidiary of Triodos Bank, has 18 active Funds. These independent legal entities only serve sustainable sectors including arts and culture, inclusive finance, sustainable trade, food and agriculture, energy and climate, sustainable real estate and listed companies with above average sustainable performance.
Triodos Bank’s organisational structure translates into lending exclusively in sustainable sectors: Environment (38%, 2016: 38%), Social (23%, 2016: 24%) and Culture (14%, 2016: 14%). In addition, an ‘Other’ category (25%, 2016: 24%) includes ethically screened loans to neutral organisations such as residential sustainable mortgages, municipalities and private loans.
In 2017, 366 organisations (2016: 390) received total donations of EUR 84,000 (2016: EUR 173,000) in this way from the Triodos Foundation.
Products and Services
The bank’s core products and services are fair, transparent and directly contribute to its sustainability mission.
Triodos Bank’s core products and services reflect its mission, by design. Products and services link savers and investors with sustainable enterprises. Efficient, high quality service is considered consistent with these goals. All strategic and policy efforts, regardless of the specific discipline within the bank, reflect this focus.
Gift money is also viewed as an important part of the role money can play in improving quality of life through finance. The Triodos Foundation is active in all the countries where Triodos Bank operates as a result.
Sustainability criteria are articulated in published positive and negative screening criteria documents, which determine lending and investment decisions. In practice, sustainability criteria inform the development of all new products as an explicit part of the innovation process.
Relationship managers have national and sectoral expertise allowing them to build relationships and finance sustainable enterprise in the long-term interests of entrepreneurs and the sustainable sectors they operate in.
Triodos Bank offers products including:
- Funds in sectors such as inclusive finance, sustainable real estate, culture, food and agriculture and energy allow individuals and institutions to invest in sustainable sectors
- Deposits that are only used to finance sustainable enterprise across all Triodos Bank’s branches
- Private Banking is currently offered in The Netherlands and Belgium and provides advice for wealthier individuals, family offices and organisations taking responsibility for the sustainable impact of their finance
- Savers, in some countries, can donate part of their interest to a charity
- Customers have full transparency over the way their finance is mobilised via a website detailing all the bank’s loans in all the countries where it operates.
Sustainability is also considered in how Triodos Bank provides its services. Instead of scripts for customer services co-workers and targets for the duration of calls, for example, co-workers are encouraged to have an authentic dialogue with customers and to take time for these conversations.
In addition, all co-workers are responsible for ensuring that suppliers meet sustainability priorities. A vendor management department has oversight for larger supplier relationships to make sure that sustainability considerations are paramount
- Growth in customer numbers to 681,000 customers (up by 4% on 2016)
- The number of depository receipt holders (who invest in Triodos Bank itself across its European network) increased from 38,138 to 40,077. Equity increased by 12% from EUR 904 million to EUR 1,013 million
- Banking apps linking customers with the sustainable impact of their money
- During 2017 Triodos Bank financed its first energy storage project, completed five transactions for energy and climate projects with capital expenditure exceeding EUR 30 million, extending its syndication deal capabilities, and launched a new crowd-giving website.
The bank’s management systems are transparent, include sustainability criteria and exist to increase the institution’s positive impact.
As an integrated, values based business Triodos Bank’s management systems, including risk evaluation and management, liquidity and asset/liability management and resource allocation are all designed to underpin Triodos Bank’s mission.
Triodos Bank has a positive approach to lending and investments, which is further supported by minimum standards, or negative criteria. Credit risk is assessed locally, in branches, and decisions on larger loans are shared with a central risk department who are responsible for ensuring the financial viability and sustainable impact of loans.
Triodos Bank’s lending strategy is built on identifying and understanding sustainable sectors, and close and meaningful relationships with its clients. Similarly, Triodos Investment Management’s strategic approach to Impact Investment takes the same 100% mission driven approach to investment.
Triodos Bank’s activity is also bolstered by Business Principles which detail the bank’s mission, vision and values and what they mean in practice.
In addition, detailed processes are in place to ensure Triodos Bank's resources deliver its mission. An active and audited Environmental Management System (EMS) monitors and reduces the adverse environmental impact of all Triodos Bank’s activities. Policies in procurement, buildings infrastructure and products and services also monitor and improve performance.
The results of Triodos Bank’s management approach are in its impact. These are integrated in its annual report and highlighted, in particular, in its annual report’s and Know Where Your Money Goes, listing all the loans that Triodos Bank makes.
In addition, Triodos Bank takes its sustainability responsibilities seriously as an institution. It is a climate neutral business. Published environmental impact data includes details of energy consumption, co-worker travel, commuting, paper usage, and CO2 emissions per FTE and by building. Triodos Bank purchases 100% renewable electricity and offsets 100% of its CO2 emissions. More details can be found in the and the .
- CO2 emissions per FTE in 2017 decreased to 2.36 tonnes (2016: 2.62 tonnes). Total CO2 emissions across the whole of Triodos Bank decreased by 1.9 % compared with 2016.
- The use of video conferencing, and Skype connecting all the offices continues to have a positive impact on travel. Business travel by plane declined by 4.9% and commuting by car by 34.5% during the year.
- The amount of office paper continued to decline further in 2017 to 85 kg/FTE (2016: 112 kg/FTE). The amount of recycled printed paper was 72 kg/customer, a decrease of 32%.
Human Resources Tools
The bank’s sustainability mission is the starting point for its incentive, compensation, and performance structure.
Triodos Bank’s human resources approach is geared towards supporting new and existing co-workers to understand its mission and goals, equipping them to translate this sustainability focus into daily practice. Its incentives, compensation and performance structure is a logical extension of this overall approach.
Triodos Bank has a moderate remuneration policy without bonuses, to create a healthy and simple system.
Sustainability is, by definition, the result of a combined effort of team members aimed at both the short and long term. So Triodos Bank chooses not to offer bonus or share option schemes to either its Board members or co-workers. Financial incentives are not considered an appropriate way to motivate and reward co-workers.
Co-workers’ connection with Triodos Bank’s values are enhanced through weekly meetings in all branches, and a thorough induction process focusing on Triodos Bank's mission, values and practice.
Various training modules and courses provide both an international and local focus, for example via the Triodos Academy, including a values seminar, management development programme, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and a visionary leadership programme. These initiatives explore Triodos Bank’s roots and values as well as the wider context for values based banking.
Active ‘Works Councils’ in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and a co-worker’s forum in the UK, provide an addition voice for co-workers at all levels.
- The ratio of the highest full-time salary to the median full-time salary in 2017 was 5.7 (2016: 5.7)
- The ratio between the highest and the lowest salary (in The Netherlands) was 9.9 (2016: 9.9). Some specific cases are excluded from this ratio, for example when very junior co-workers are recruited as apprenticeship, or less qualified people are appointed to create job opportunities for vulnerable people. The figure was lower in the other countries where Triodos Bank operates.
- A Group-wide co-worker survey took place in 2017 The proportion of committed co-workers was 92% compared to the European benchmark (68%). 83% of co-workers participated
- Co-workers participated in the different programmes of the Triodos Academy (2016: 224)
The bank reports on the impact of what it does, not just its financial performance in an honest, transparent and accessible way.
Tracking and reporting financial and non-financial performance is a core part of the Triodos Bank’s ‘business as usual’.
Triodos Bank provides detailed and accessible reporting on both its financial and non-financial performance so its stakeholders have a true picture of the results of its work at different levels, from the perspective of customers and investors to regulators, partners and wider society. It also reports in order to understand and develop what it is doing well and to identify where it can improve.
Triodos Bank intends to be a front-runner in managing and communicating impact as an outcome of these efforts.
All the loans Triodos Bank makes are published in all the countries where it operates.
Its annual report details the sectors where Triodos Bank is active on its websites.
Non-financial impact is reported with a bias for story-telling. Audited data is used to support this qualitative information. This scorecard is one part of that effort.
Evidence of impact is integrated with more conventional banking figures, such as capital ratios which reflect the resilience of the bank and its commitment to finance sustainable enterprise in the real economy.
A comprehensive impact manual was developed in 2015 providing co-workers with everything they need to know about what and how to report non-financial impact data. This is a living document that develops over time and in response to emerging issues in the wider world.
All non-financial impact data is related back to people reflecting Triodos Bank’s mission. This data has been assured by external auditors since 2014 to help improve the systems for gathering and reporting this information.
Triodos Bank also collaborates with others in the banking sector, and with frameworks like the UN Sustainable Development Goals, GRI and B Corp, to improve how it reports on its impact.
An impact management and communication tool prototype was developed during 2017 and will be tested and, if successful, implementation will begin in 2018. This new system will help Triodos Bank to better understand, monitor, steer and communicate impact.
Triodos Bank has collaborated with other financial institutions in The Netherlands, in the Platform for Carbon Accounting Financials, a group established at the time of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 to find a common, open source methodology to account for the carbon footprint of loans and investments. Interim and final reports were published in 2017.
Triodos Bank is developing, and plans to start using the new methodology in parts of its business in 2018. It will also collaborate in a ‘Science Based Targets’ initiative to connect the PCAF methodology with international commitments to keep the increase in global temperature from pre-industrial levels within safe levels.
Triodos Bank also collaborated with Eosta, international distributor of organic fruit and vegetables, and others to sponsor a pilot to develop True Cost assessments of finance, food and farming. The results were published in 2017.
Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management integrates the reporting on its non-financial and financial performance, in this annual report in particular. It ensures that both types of data are externally audited.
- Environment: By the end of 2017, Triodos Bank and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 472 projects in the energy sector: 37 energy efficiency projects, 25 sustainable power projects in a construction phase and another 410 sustainable power projects (2016: 381) with a total generating capacity of 3,100 MW (2016: 2,400 MW), producing the equivalent of the electricity needs of 1.4 million European households (2016: 1.2 million). Together these projects contributed to the avoidance of over 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (2016: 1.7 million tonnes).
- Organics: organically managed land on the farms financed by Triodos Bank could produce the equivalent of 30 million meals in 2017; enough food to provide a sustainable diet for approximately 27,000 people (2016: 29,000).
- Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management also financed 31,000 hectares of nature and conservation land (2016: 28,000).
- Over 146,000 smallholder farmers in 17 emerging market countries worldwide were paid directly and fairly upon delivery of their harvest in 2017, as a result of the trade finance of Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund. In 2017 the clients of the fund had 60,000 hectares of certified organic farmland under sustainable cultivation. An additional 17,000 hectares was in conversion.
- In 2017 Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed directly, and via sustainable property, approximately 10,600 homes and apartments (2016: 7,200) and about 540 commercial properties (2016: 310) comprising approximately540,000m2 for office and other commercial space (2016: 460,000m2). It has also financed about 18,000m2 of buildings and brownfield sites (2016: 27,000m2).
- Care for the elderly: 53,000 individuals (2016: 35,000) were residents of facilities at 558 elderly care homes (2016: 422) financed by Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management.
- In 2017 Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed 490 community projects (2016: 437), and 170 social housing projects, which directly and indirectly provide accommodation for approximately 94,000 people (2016: 67,000).
- Triodos Investment Management’s specialised emerging markets funds provided finance to 107 financial institutions working for inclusive finance in 44 countries (2016: 44); these organisations reached approximately 15.1 million savers (2016: 13.7 million) and 20.3 million borrowing customers in 2017 (2016: 20.2 million). Of these loan clients, 78% are female, empowering their position.
- Culture: 17.6 million visitors enjoyed cultural events including cinema, theatres and museums across Europe (2016: 13.7 million).
- Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management finance also helped approximately 3,400 artists and creative companies active in the cultural sector (2016: 3,100). Theatre, music and dance productions from creative companies were visited by 450,000 people. New productions in 2017 from the film and media sector financed by Triodos Bank were seen by over 9.0 million people (2016: 9.7 million).
- Triodos also financed a number of organisations providing affordable spaces for cultural activities such as workshops and music courses, attracting around 97,000 people (2016: 90,000).
- Approximately 650,000 individuals benefited from the work of 455 education initiatives financed by Triodos Bank in 2017 (2016: 2 million).