Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Triodos Bank partners on products and funds with a number of NGOs including Amnesty International in several countries, HIVOS in The Netherlands, Freedom from Torture 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. Our Spanish branch met with Oxfam, Greenpeace, CEAR and WWF to learn about current challenges in their fields of work.
We highly value the fact that independent organisations benchmark our policies and actions. Nevertheless, we decided in 2018 to end our active cooperation with the Dutch Fair Finance Guide (Eerlijke Bankwijzer). Together with other banks and the Dutch Banking Association we concluded that despite years of engagement and explanation of both our policy framework and our mission and business principles, the methodology used by the researchers continued to result in a picture of our sustainability performance that we cannot support. Talks about this with the Fair Finance Guide have unfortunately yielded too little results to continue our cooperation.
However, we still engage with NGOs in The Netherlands 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.
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 2018 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 contribute to a covenant on international corporate social responsibility, with a particular emphasis on Human Rights.
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 two highlights from 2018 that contributed to this agenda. Triodos Bank actively contributes to the development of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking. These Principles, launched in draft in November 2018, define the global banking industry’s role and responsibilities in shaping a sustainable future.
By complying with these principles, banks align their business strategies with key societal goals – such as combating climate change and social inequality, and developing sustainable food systems. The initiative is aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The principles will be signed by banks from around the world in 2019.
Last year we also contributed to the draft of the Dutch Climate Agreement, including a commitment from the financial sector in The Netherlands. The agreement means the sector fully commits to apply climate requirements to reduce CO2 emissions on the balance sheets of its financial institutions.
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 Bank continues to play an active role in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking. We are also a part of the UK Government’s Implementation Taskforce working to grow the number of social impact investors.The new government in Spain created a Ministry for the Ecological Transition in 2018. Triodos Bank engaged in conversations on the role of banks and financial institutions in the energy transition. And in Belgium we were invited to speak at or participate in events organised by the Belgian government 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 current state of the financial sector. We also engaged with the Dutch government about the Dutch Climate Agreement and successfully argued for an invitation to the financial sector to actively commit to it.
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. With regard to the taxonomy specifically, Triodos Bank published a position paper on how Triodos Bank classifies sustainability and what Triodos Bank’s recommendations are for the taxonomy debate.
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 (redesigned in 2018) 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. For instance, Peter Blom was interviewed by the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant about sustainability and by international media as Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Economist and Financial Times about the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. Our Chief Economist Kees Vendrik was interviewed by several media last year about the Dutch Climate Agreement and other, and more general economic subjects.
Our branches worked with media on coverage to mark the moment of 10 years on from the financial crash. The managing director of Triodos UK spoke to national media, while in Belgium an opinion piece was published in French and Flemish media.