All the proposals are included in Triodos Bank’s vision paper "Building open and resilient communities for an inclusive society" published today. Promoting inclusion in society is a strategic priority for Triodos Bank: its loans and investments focus particularly on the labour market, financial inclusion, affordable and sustainable housing, community projects and child development. This strategy is rooted in Triodos Bank's mission to create a society that promotes people's quality of life and in which human dignity is central.
The paper argues that the current reality is that certain groups and individuals are excluded and marginalised, with their rights being violated. It states that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced existing patterns of exclusion and inequality, with discrimination still deeply rooted in our society.
Jeroen Rijpkema, CEO of Triodos Bank: "Triodos Bank believes each person should be able to develop in full freedom and with dignity. Unfortunately, this is not a given for everyone. Because of inequality and discrimination, people are excluded from essential parts of society. We need to discuss how we want to promote and build a global society that leaves no one behind. To achieve this, collaborative action is needed. With our vision paper we want to make a constructive contribution to that discussion.”
In its vision paper, Triodos Bank presents three areas of change in favour of a more inclusive society.
- Improving inclusion and empowerment of communities and individuals.
All people must be able to develop in freedom. The opportunity, ability and dignity to participate in communities and society are essential for this development. Triodos Bank wants to focus its (financing and investment) activities on the following topics:
- Promote initiatives to support children: invest in and finance companies that support an ecosystem of equal opportunities, health and wellbeing, education and safety for children.
- Empower local economies: communities function as safety nets that support, empower, and enable collective takeover and attention to local needs.
- Raise awareness towards a fair transition: ecological transformation, made up of different transitions such as energy or food, must be inclusive for everyone and fair to succeed. Under this premise, in 2021 the bank announced its goal of being net zero by 2035.
- Building inclusive markets, services and social spaces.
Access to society is not only achieved by improving people's opportunities, skills and dignity. It can also be achieved by providing and improving different markets, services and spaces. Triodos Bank wants to focus its (financing) activities to make the following markets more inclusive:
- Support inclusive and diverse labour markets by making Triodos Bank a more inclusive organisation and financing businesses that make labour markets more accessible to different people.
- Promote accessibility to financial services to promote balanced socio-economic development through investing in financial inclusion around the globe and addressing issues that decrease the accessibility of financial services.
- Develop a sustainable and accessible housing market: facilitating the granting of loans to for instance social housing, as well as adjusting lending rules throughout the sector.
- Challenging dominant values and the current social paradigm
Societies are constructed by social behaviour, cultural values and beliefs, economic practices and political decisions (on rules, regulations and social institutions). By financing initiatives with social impact, Triodos Bank supports and promotes people and initiatives that bring values of cooperation, justice and inclusion to the forefront in society. Empowering these voices of change challenges the dominant hierarchies of values that rule mainstream business practices and government policies.
Since 1980, Triodos Bank has helped create a society that protects and promotes the quality of life of all its members, with human dignity at the core. Triodos Bank has published two other vision papers, on food and agriculture – “Towards ecologically and socially resilient food and agriculture systems” – and energy and climate – “Towards a low carbon economy". Both papers contribute to the public conversation on change, propose concrete agendas and give guidance to Triodos Bank’s own banking and investment activities.
Triodos Bank and its commitment to inclusion
Triodos Bank takes a holistic approach to inclusion that materialises in the financing of companies and initiatives in the social sector that are dedicated, for example, to the care of the elderly, social projects and social housing and healthcare. In 2021 as a result of Triodos financing across Europe, around 59,000 people were provided with accommodation via social housing projects, 4,700 affordable spaces were co-financed for creative work and cultural activities, such as workshops and music courses and 786,000 individuals benefitted from education initiatives.
In turn, Triodos Investment Management's financial inclusion funds financed 111 financial service providers in 47 countries. These values-based institutions range from small NGOs working in developing markets to digital lending platforms and banks offering access to a range of fair and transparent financial services for individuals and stakeholders.