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 bigger picture
- We focus on qualitative evidence of our contribution to impact before numbers
- We maximise our impact by only financing sustainable enterprise
- We are fully transparent about the impact of the money entrusted to us
Our vision on measuring impact reflects a focus on delivering our mission. That means we try and find qualitative evidence of the impact first and foremost and back it up with numbers when it’s relevant.
Because Triodos Bank was founded to deliver positive change. These roots mean we do not use impact data to tell us if a new effort to deliver positive outcomes has been successful. Instead impact data provides a richer picture for our stakeholders about the work we do. We want to demonstrate Triodos Bank’s grounding in financing the real economy by providing verifiable, relevant information.
We understand impact finance to be transformational. We define it as directing money so that it benefits people and the environment over the long-term. As a consequence it provides fair financial and non-financial returns to its stakeholders.
Why does impact matter?
People who bank with us are interested in more than just the financial products and services they receive; they are motivated by the social and environmental outcomes that they, and their money, have in the world.
By examining the impact that Triodos Bank contributes to, we’re better able to demonstrate how people’s money is used positively. We also hope to inspire entrepreneurs by giving examples of how their impact could grow, including asking the entrepreneurs we finance themselves to assess our impact.
Our effect on society
Authenticity is at the heart of Triodos Bank’s approach to assessing impact.
Triodos Bank’s mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. Which means the impact we’re interested in is the effect of our activity on society, the environment and culture. To ensure our influence is positive we only invest in sustainable enterprises and we only use the ‘real’ money entrusted to us by savers and investors.
Bigger is not necessarily better
Triodos Bank takes an unconventional, but increasingly popular, approach to assessing impact. We care about, and try to demonstrate, the contribution our work has made to improving people’s quality of life.
Numbers do matter of course, but they are not our starting point.
It sounds counter-intuitive because we often hear that conventional growth, graphs that go up, and rising numbers are good news to be celebrated. But this is not always true. A focus on growth alone provides a very limited picture. Indeed, in many ways Triodos Bank is growth agnostic. For instance, if your bank is in the business of sustainable change, financing a single, innovative new business which will inspire an entirely new sustainable industry could mean more impact than financing ten established businesses in a mature industry. Similarly, one project may have a profound, transformational impact on the lives of a small number of people whereas another reaches many more people but in a much more superficial way. Assessing the ‘value’ of their relative impact can’t be done on the basis of numbers alone.
Bringing sustainable ideas to life
Our lending process reflects our focus on delivering positive impact and integrates environmental sustainability, human dignity and economic resilience so that the enterprises we lend to can help improve people’s quality of life.
By financing and working closely with progressive entrepreneurs in our core sectors we help turn good ideas into reality, delivering the sort of impact that we, and our customers and wider stakeholders, want to see. And we show how Triodos Bank lends and invests the money entrusted to us by our customers, through our various on and offline communications.