Triodos Bank finances companies, institutions and projects that add cultural value and benefit people and the environment, with the support of depositors and investors who want to encourage corporate social responsibility and a sustainable society. Triodos Bank´s mission is to help create a society that promotes peoples´ quality of life and that has human dignity at its core; to enable individuals, institutions, and businesses to use money more consciously in ways that benefit people and the environment, and promote sustainable development; to offer customers sustainable financial products and high quality services.
The concept of positive direct investment was groundbreaking at the time it emerged in 1968 as an idea from a small group of professionals with strong social values. And it led to the launch of Triodos Bank in 1980 in The Netherlands as a fully regulated bank.
From the start, Triodos Bank pioneered new ways to use money positively. It financed the renewable energy industry in its infancy for example – widely regarded as high risk in its day. The bank´s activity grew to include green, ethical, social and culture oriented investment funds, dedicated venture capital funds and private banking services. The branches in Triodos Bank Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom and Germany have been progressively established since 1993. At the same time Triodos Bank´s international work expanded significantly with investments in microfinance institutions across the developing world, with the provision of cross-border financial services for clients´ international activities and consultancy, investment management and fund management services.
Triodos Bank is an independent financial institution. It is structured to make sure it continues to deliver its sustainable mission over the long term. Over 30,000 individuals hold the large majority of the bank´s equity. Financial institutions hold the remainder. No institutions or individuals can hold more than 10% of the bank´s issued capital. Triodos Bank shares are held in trust by the Foundation for the Administration of Triodos Bank Shares (SAAT), a body whose mandate is to safeguard Triodos Bank’s mission, its independence and the economic interests of its depository receipt holders. SAAT issues depository receipts (without voting right) for Triodos Bank shares to the public and institutions. The Board of SAAT is appointed by the depository receipt holders, who each have a maximum number of votes of 1,000.
Triodos Bank wants to achieve its mission as a sustainable bank in three ways: by acting as 1) a sustainable service provider, 2) a product innovator and 3) an opinion leader.
These three strategic goals are closely connected and are reflected in its activities and products. Triodos Bank services a range from basic lending – from USD 45,000 to USD 40 million per project – to sophisticated investment products. Loans are made to businesses working in nature and the environment sectors, such as organic agriculture, wholesale, health food stores and renewable energy – social business, from housing associations to social economy projects – culture and society, including the arts and education – and North-South projects, such as fair trade and microfinance. Over 500,000 customers support the mission by providing the necessary funding through dedicated savings products and specific investment funds. They have access to payment services, debit and credit cards, internet banking, investment and private banking services as well as mortgages.