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.
Context is everything
- Stories that reflect the core goals of an organisation are crucial to understanding its true impact
- A focus on impact dictates which sectors we finance and how we finance them
- We’re clear about the methodologies we use and dilemmas we face to assess impact
Context is key
To understand our vision and the extent to which we’re delivering on it, means telling stories that illustrate the whole picture. These stories provide the essential context and background for our activities. The examples in the report are representative of areas which we have focused on because they reflect key areas of our work overall and/or because of their significant potential for the future. They are not ‘cherry-picked’ to highlight work that’s untypical of our wider efforts. While many organisations have started to integrate sustainability in their work, others can highlight projects that give an unrealistic picture of their overall impact. This can create confusion for stakeholders at best and obscure the true, sometimes negative, impact of companies at worst.
Triodos Bank’s impact on sectors
In Triodos Bank’s case, our starting point is fundamentally important to the sectors we finance and the impact we try to make.
We invest time in deepening our understanding of the markets we work in to make sure we develop meaningful relationships with, and provide the most relevant services to, the entrepreneurs driving their development.
For example, we don’t finance progressive schools because we think there’s a good opportunity to make some money in the schools market; we finance them because we think children should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and we think progressive education is one way to do that. We then find a financially sustainable way to make that happen. The impact reflects the extent to which we have served the needs of the sector first and is dependent on being able to do it in a professional, financially sound way.
We aim to be as rigorous as possible in developing methodologies behind the data we report and to be completely open about the assumptions we have made. We use a detailed impact assessment manual to describe and develop our methodology and make sure it’s implemented in a consistent way.
The impact data in the Management Board report is audited, providing limited assurance on this data. Because, as an integrated business, we think it’s important to verify our financial and non-financial data so stakeholders can be confident about the veracity of both.
This impact report aims to assess and communicate the impact of Triodos Bank’s work in a transparent, meaningful and evolving way. We expect it to develop further in the future and we welcome feedback.
We also partner with others, where appropriate, to develop new methodologies that further the sustainability agenda. We co-created and will implement a new methodology to measure the carbon footprint of financial institution’s loans and investments, for example. The Platform Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) was launched at the Paris climate conference in 2015 and published its results in December, 2017.