Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Triodos Bank partners on products and funds with a number of NGOs.In the United Kingdom we have an ongoing affiliate programme that goes from strength to strength. It includes organisations and charities aligned with our values, such as Friends of the Earth and Soil Association. Under the arrangement they recommend Triodos Bank to their supporters.
Triodos Bank in Germany organised an event about the PCAF (Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials) methodology to measure the climate impact of loans and investments; 65 banks, NGO’s and other stakeholders attended. In Spain, we also arranged meetings with NGO’s about the PCAF methodology.
In 2019 we supported several events in Belgium from organisations working on the transition agenda, including the Foundation for Future Generations, Ecopolis en Festival van de Gelijkheid. The Belgian branch also supported several climate actions: Youth for Climate, Sign for my future and Klimaatbetoog (climate protest), all with the objective to raise awareness and encourage action to address the climate emergency.
In the Netherlands, we engaged with NGOs about more specific topics. For instance, Triodos Bank is a signee of the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on international responsible business conduct regarding human rights. This is a broad coalition of banks, trade unions, NGOs, the Dutch Banking Association and the Dutch government, to improve the situation on human rights. We also discussed our vision papers on food & agriculture and energy & climate with NGO’s.
Part of our mission is to change finance. This makes the financial sector one of our most important stakeholders. We interact with our colleagues in the sector on a regular basis, in person, through banking associations or during events. 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 (which includes a wide range of companies, not all active in the financial sector), United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), United Kingdom Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) and many more.
It is worth mentioning a few highlights from 2019 that contributed to this agenda. In July, fifty financial institutions, including Triodos Bank, signed the commitment to the Dutch climate agreement. They promise to report about the climate impact of their loans and investments and to set CO2 reduction targets. Triodos Bank initiated this commitment.
Triodos Bank actively contributed to the development of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking. These Principles define the global banking industry’s role and responsibilities in shaping a sustainable future. More than 130 banks signed the Principles during the Climate Week in New York in 2019.
Last year we also contributed to the global launch of the PCAF methodology. During Climate Week in New York, more than 50 financial institutions committed themselves to assess and disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of their loans and investments. It’s the largest commitment ever made in the financial sector and the number of banks continues to grow.
Triodos Bank participated in the UN Climate Change Summit (the COP25) in Madrid to stress the importance of the financial sector to finance the transition to a low carbon economy. We promoted the climate agreement by the Spanish financial sector, a first step on the path to actual carbon-free investments.
Triodos Bank has ongoing dialogues with local and (inter)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.
In the UK Triodos Bankencouraged a cross party group of UK Members of Parliament to give its backing to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, launching at an event in the Houses of Parliament. Triodos Bank in the UK also played an active role on the UK Government’s Implementation Taskforce working to grow the number of social impact investors and ensure financial providers help people support the issues they care about through their savings and investment choices.
In Spain we organised several activities to increase awareness about sustainable finance with Ministry for Ecologic Transition, the Bank of Spain and the Spanish Banking Association. And in Belgium we were invited to speak at or participate in events organised by the Belgian government and the European Parliament about sustainable finance related to societal issues. In The Netherlands, the CEO of Triodos, Peter Blom, participated in a round table discussion organised by the Parliament about the sustainability of the financial sector.
On a European level, Triodos Bank has been involved in conversations concerning new legislation for sustainable finance. Colleagues from different branches have been discussing with Members of the European Parliament, Permanent Representations in Brussels and national Ministries of Finance and/or Environment proposals for new banking rules, disclosure requirements relating to sustainable investment and sustainability risks and the establishment of a taxonomy framework to facilitate sustainable investment.
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 addition to media coverage, Triodos Bank uses social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and its website to communicate news, attract new co-workers 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. For instance, Peter Blom was interviewed by the Financial Times about the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and sustainable banking. Our Chief Economist Kees Vendrik was interviewed by several media (including Foreign Affairs) last year about the Dutch Climate Agreement and other, and more general economic subjects.
Triodos Bank UK contributed to a significant shift in the attitude of mainstream media who are now addressing the role banks play in tackling climate change – and encouraging people to switch their bank. A new campaign was launched in the UK called ‘Change your Bank, Change the World’ asking consumers to react to the £150 billion still invested in fossil fuels since Paris Agreement by mainstream UK banks. The campaign was backed by Triodos customer, model and activist Lily Cole and Friends of the Earth.
Triodos Bank Spain participated in a conference at APIE (the Association of Economy Journalists) about the need to change finance meaningfully. And in Belgium, Triodos Bank’s opinion article criticizing the Febelfin sustainability label ‘Towards was taken up several media outlets.