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Stakeholder Engagement 2017

Stakeholders are of crucial importance to Triodos Bank. They help the organisation to develop by providing an external perspective on what and how Triodos Bank does its work.
As part of our engagement with stakeholders we delivered a formal process to analyse the issues that are most important both to Triodos Bank’s stakeholders and the bank itself. The outcomes can be found in a ‘materiality analysis’ in the Executive Board chapter of the Annual Report in the graph below.

In addition, Triodos Bank has always benefited from open discussion with all its stakeholders in a variety of ways – from client days connecting hundreds of customers in all the countries where we work, to depository receipt holder meetings and surveys.
Triodos Bank identifies three specific groups of stakeholders:

  1. Those that engage in economic transactions with the business
    Customers, Depository receipt holders, Co-workers and Suppliers

  2. Those that do not engage in direct economic exchange with the business, but have a close interest in it
    Regulators, NGOs, Governments and Media

  3. Those that provide new insights, opportunities and knowledge
    Advisors and Inspirers

Materiality Matrix 2017

Materiality Matrix 2017

The Stakeholder Groups

The first group of stakeholders consists of people and organisations that are very close to Triodos Bank, with a direct economic interest in it. The second group has a clear interest in Triodos Bank’s development and predominantly the social, cultural and environmental context in which it operates. And the third group encourages the organisation to push its boundaries to make a greater impact in furthering its mission.
Representatives of all these groups participated in a questionnaire and a dialogue session at the end of the year providing input on important topics connected to Triodos Bank. But this was only one of a number of activities and interactions with stakeholders during the year.

Customers

Triodos Bank values relationships and interaction between clients, entrepreneurs and co-workers extremely highly. It is at the heart of its approach to its work. So, every year a variety of client events are organised in all the countries where Triodos Bank is active. Clients, entrepreneurs and co-workers enjoy the opportunity to meet and discover how their money is put to work. To highlight some of the many events:

In the United Kingdom, a new 200 people-capacity event space called The Foundation opened connected our office there, leased and run by the Triodos Foundation charity. It is offered to partners and charities at a discounted rate and all profits go to the Foundation. Since it opened there have been 66 events with over 1900 people attending.

The online magazine of Triodos Bank Spain La Revista Triodos has developed a new section, “Repensar el dinero” (Re-thinking money), to promote financial education. It is a series of articles and videos with interviews to well-known persons of economics asked on the theme What is money? The purpose of these articles is to keep fostering a thoughtful and critical view on money, consumption and economics among our customers and society.

Depository Receipt Holders

Every year, an international questionnaire is distributed to depository receipt holders in all the countries with Triodos Bank branches. This survey provides insights into how satisfied the investors of Triodos Bank are, assesses whether Triodos Bank is striking the right balance between its financial and non-financial returns and taps into this important stakeholder group’s views of the environment the bank operates in.

Well-visited depository receipt holder meetings were held in all branches. In all meetings participants could ask questions to the Board of SAAT, senior management of both local branches and the Executive Board. At the 2017 edition of the Annual Meeting of Triodos Bank NV, held in Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, the number of depository receipt holders attending the meeting was one of the highest in the history of the bank.

Co-workers

Triodos Bank’s steady growth requires an evolving approach to fulfil the potential of the people who work in the organisation. The organisation wants to continue to be one of the world’s leading sustainable banks and therefore needs highly qualified people who are aligned with its vision and mission.

To support the development of motivated, skilled co-workers Triodos Bank offers for example international programmes in the Triodos Academy; 224 co-workers participated in this programme in 2017 (2016: 224) including a management development programme, a Visionary Leadership Programme, a Values Seminar for relatively new co-workers and an Advanced Values Seminar for those with a longer tenure in our organisation.

Besides this we have activities where co-workers can meet with each other and with other stakeholders to foster the relationship. We moved from an annual international Co-worker Conference towards a focus on local co-worker conferences, given the growth of the organisation.

Weekly meetings (Monday Morning Meetings) are organised in all Triodos Bank’s branches to help align co-workers with the business, its goals and challenges. To encourage international collaboration a yearly Triodos Leadership Conference is organised for around 55 (senior) managers and the heads of functional domains meet twice a year to discuss developments in their functional area. 

Regular meetings are also organised with customers or thought leaders on topics such as sustainable real estate, new ways of banking, energy and innovative sustainable projects, for example by organising lunch meetings for all co-workers with clients and inspirational speakers.

Suppliers

Triodos Bank further strengthened its engagement and awareness with vendors/suppliers in 2017. Engagement focused on the responsibility of suppliers with regard to sustainability and corporate social responsibility in their supply chain. The 2017 Depository Receipt Holders’ Survey showed that this group sees the selection and investment in the relationship with its vendors, as the most important activity that Triodos Bank undertakes as an institution in fulfilling its mission. Triodos Bank wants to support its suppliers to become more aware and contribute positively on issues around sustainability, corporate social responsibility, ethics and transparency.

NGOs

Triodos Bank is a member of several local, regional and international platforms and associations, consisting of a diverse set of organisations, such as the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), B Corp, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), United Kingdom Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) and many more.

Triodos Bank partners on products and funds with a number of NGOs including Amnesty International in several countries, HIVOS in The Netherlands, the Soil Association and Friends of the Earth in the UK as well as working with NGOs via its own foundations, such as Fundación Triodos in Spain.

In addition, Triodos Bank engages in selected stakeholder dialogues and presentations that are aligned with its mission and values. For instance, the organisation’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds work closely together with NGOs to help determine sustainability standards for various industries.

Financial education is an annual theme of Triodos Bank’s stakeholder engagement activities. During 2017 coworkers, including our Chief Operating Officer, Jellie Banga, again provided guest lessons in schools during the Dutch ‘Week van het Geld’. Triodos Bank’s online magazine in Spain, La Revista Triodos, has developed a new section, “Repensar el dinero” (Re-thinking money), to promote financial education. It includes a series of articles and videos featuring interviews with well-known economics experts. These experts are asked questions on the theme ‘What is money?’ The purpose of the articles is to foster a thoughtful and critical view on money, consumption and economics among our customers and society. While in Germany Triodos Bank collaborated with three other sustainable banks to organise the second ‘Fair Finance Week’ in Frankfurt, providing speeches, discussions and workshops for the public.

The Triodos Foundation organised, in collaboration with other entities, the Educational and Shared Gardens’ Conference in Spain during the year. More than 150 people from different schools and academies participated in the university Politécnica de Madrid. The first part of the event was a round-table meeting where participants could listen to relevant voices in education, academia and from the Madrid City Council. The awards ceremony for the best organic gardens in schools took place afterwards. An activity for children was organised at the same time.

Government

Triodos Bank has ongoing dialogues with local and national governments and supervisory bodies, sometimes in partnership with other financial institutions or other partners. It engages in conversations about the sector and has regular meetings to discuss issues that are relevant to its business. Key topics it focuses on in conversations and consultations include the positive impact and potential of sustainable banking, the strength of greater diversity in the banking industry and the need for broader retail participation in impact investing.

Triodos Bank is a member of Banking Associations across Europe and is engaged in governmental and supervisory consultations with a focus on maintaining a diverse banking landscape and fair and effective regulatory conditions for small and medium-sized banks. Triodos Bank launched various initiatives in 2017 to foster the debate on what is needed for a successful sustainable transition needed to reach the Paris Climate Coals. Triodos Bank initiated a letter of CEOs of Dutch financial institutions that called an active interplay from government, business and the financial sector. Later in the year Triodos bank launched, in a collaborative effort of the GABV, Finance Watch and Mission 2020 a white paper with ideas for necessary conditions to shape sustainable finance. 

Triodos Bank continued its contribution in 2017 in an important multi-stakeholder initiative that was developed in 2016 by the Dutch banking sector in close cooperation with NGOs, unions and the Dutch government, to draw up a covenant on international corporate social responsibility, with a particular emphasis on Human Rights.

Media

Triodos Bank’s profile has developed rapidly in recent years in all the countries where it operates, via coverage in the media in particular.

In Germany Triodos Bank established a network of digital influencers in the field of sustainability: #nachhaltige100, for whom also two in person meetings were organised. The 2017 launch of the Triodos Bank Personal Current Account in the United Kingdom generated significant media attention with over 70 pieces of press coverage. Triodos Bank in Spain organised a launching event for a new financing agreement to promote theatre projects and scenic arts was presented. Over 50 people, including many cultural journalists, visited.

Triodos Bank uses social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn, to communicate news, attract new coworkers and to engage with stakeholders interested in its story. The organisation regularly invites journalists to discuss new innovations and themes that its work addresses, highlighting the potential for a more transparent, diverse and sustainable banking industry.

Triodos Bank is transparent about the impact of its finance with the press and its wider stakeholders. All the organisations it finances are visible on its websites.

Advisors and Inspirers

To expand its activities, enrich its thinking and keep innovating in its products and services, Triodos Bank engages with external advisors who respond to requests or provide advice spontaneously, and seeks out individuals who inspire new opportunities and insights. Triodos Bank invites inspiring people to speak at specially convened sessions in its branches, and at international theme meetings. These people are vitally important, particularly in the development of forward looking sustainability strategies.

Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) in 2009. This is a growing network of independent sustainable banks which provides a rich source of inspiration and challenge for senior members of Triodos Bank’s Executive Team, Supervisory Board members, and future leaders in sustainable banking.

In 2017, the GABV celebrated a new milestone with the 40th member joining the movement, that is now present at all six continents.  Triodos Bank’s co-workers actively participated in various activities of the GABV. This year’s annual conference was hosted in Nepal.

In 2010 Triodos Bank, together with the Utrecht University, set up the Sustainable Finance Lab (SFL). The SFL brings scientists from diverse disciplines together to develop ideas that make a powerful contribution to a sustainable, stable and robust financial sector. The organisation hosted a number of public and private meetings throughout 2017 to further this agenda. During the year an SFL seminar on the creation of money lead to high level talks with senior regulators from around Europe, influencing a far reaching debate about the future of the financial system.

Also in 2017, Triodos in the United Kingdom was headline sponsor for the prestigious Festival of Economics: an annual event over five days attracting more than 4,000 people to talks and debates. Over 14 different events took place incorporating discussions on the economic system, future monetary policy and fairer finance.

Speakers at special lunch-time co-worker events included a broad range of social, environmental and cultural entrepreneurs, as well Marina Silva, a prominent Brazilian environmentalist and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections and Christophe Barnouin, CEO of Wessanen.