Impact, Risk and Return – an Integrated Business
Traditionally banks have focused on risk and return, primarily to avoid negative outcomes, and to enable investors to understand the performance of a particular institution. Risk and return tend to be seen in a short term context, particularly when an institution sees its main goal as maximising returns to shareholders. It’s a perspective that sees a company through the narrow lens of its financial performance only; and it neglects a company’s wider relationship with – and impact on – society and the environment.
So Triodos Bank uses impact, risk and return to understand its overall development and place in the world around it. This necessarily means it has a positive, long-term perspective. Because if you are focused on delivering sustainable social, environmental and cultural impact as well as risk and return – as Triodos Bank is – your horizon is inherently longer-term and has a positive, holistic outlook.
Triodos Bank wants to deliver sustainable impact. When we talk about ‘Impact’ we are concerned with what our actions, in particular financing and facilitating investments, mean concretely to people. Impact means delivering positive outcomes, not only on a transactional level but also on a social, ecological system level.
Because our starting point is to deliver greater impact over the long term, it is essential that we are financially resilient and that, as an outcome, we have consistently been focussing on a high quality loan portfolio. Triodos Bank’s modest risk appetite is an important building block towards this resilience.
Triodos Bank has been able to deliver stable, fair returns over a sustained period. For Triodos Bank, financial performance is important because being a resilient financial institution is essential to delivering lasting, sustainable change.
To deliver Impact, Risk and Return we have a unique sustainable approach:
- We have a simple business model: We only lend money entrusted to us by savers and investors, to entrepreneurs we know well. We only work in the real economy and we don’t invest in complex financial instruments.
- We don’t have a Corporate Sustainability Department. Our aim is to lend our customers' money for 100% to people and organisations working to make the world a better place. We actively seek out and promote sustainable, entrepreneurial businesses driven by values and ideas. Our lending criteria reflect this positive approach - rather than just detailing which businesses we exclude because they do harm.
- We believe that sustainable banking depends on trust and transparency, so we publish details of the organisations we lend to; which means our savers and investors can see how we’re using their money. Explore Know where your money goes.