Triodos Bank’s Executive Board provides a perspective on the wider world it operates in, its impact and activity in 2016 and its prospects for the future.
Approximately 2.0 million individuals benefited from the work of education initiatives financed by Triodos Bank in 2016 (2015: 986,000).
So for every Triodos Bank customer, the equivalent of 3.1 people were able to learn and grow because of education provided by an establishment we financed.
Our vision and activities
Percentage of our loans and investments to the education sector
Loans and investments by subsector
Our vision on education
Triodos Bank believes that education brings huge benefits to the individual in terms of personal development and well-being – and to society in terms of economic development and social cohesion.
Diverse Education. Singular Benefits.
Because Triodos Bank believes in improving quality of life across the social spectrum, it argues that it is important that the education system is sufficiently diverse and inclusive to cater to the needs of all individuals no matter what their abilities.
Some educational establishments practicing progressive education concepts, or those working with individuals with special needs, require financial support other than government funding. We aim to contribute to maintaining and nurturing this diversity within the education system – to produce positive impact for individuals, their families and society.
Early childhood is a particularly important stage in personal and social development so Triodos Bank finances many schools and kindergartens whose philosophy particularly focus on a child-centred approach that brings creativity into the child’s curriculum.
We also finance education establishments for people of all ages with special needs and adult and community education projects.
Triodos Bank provides finance for educational establishments which aim to complement national education systems by integrating progressive approaches to working with individuals with a greater range of needs.
Alanus Foundation – Alanus University / Campus II site
What challenge was the inspiration for the project?
The Alanus Foundation’s main objective is to promote art, culture, science and research. It does this in particular by providing economic and broader support to the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences.
Alanus University is a state-accredited and independently-funded university of arts in Alfter, near Bonn. It brings study programmes from the fields of architecture, fine arts, drama, eurhythmy, art therapy, education, philosophy and business management together under one roof.
The University opened a second location, named “Campus II”, in Villestrasse, Alfter, Germany in 2009. The site is home to the architecture, educational sciences, art therapy and economics departments. Since the university became state-accredited in 2002, it has seen an eight-fold increase in student numbers, now totalling around 1500. New spaces are being created to meet this increasing demand.
Small learning groups, and scope for each individual’s personal development, are important components of the university’s approach. The university aims to provide an environment that supports each student and gives them the space they need to advance in their scientific and artistic development. The new spaces are particularly relevant in meeting these requirements.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
The Alanus Foundation plans to use land acquired from the Software AG Foundation to carry out a second phase of construction and to use available space to create additional studios.
Campus II currently has three studio houses for art therapy, architecture and art education studies under the auspices of the educational sciences department. Given the growing number of students in new study programmes and the launch of new arts programmes, studio houses offer ideal working conditions for studying in small groups, in a personal atmosphere.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on the business?
Triodos Bank, which supported us financially with the purchase of the site, is the ideal partner for this step in our development. Our goal, which is to promote change in society, is at the forefront of both institutions.
In addition, we have already had some excellent experiences collaborating with Triodos Bank, as a practice partner of the university. Students working towards Bachelor’s degrees in business management can take practical part of their studies - 60 weeks altogether - at the German office of Triodos Bank, in Frankfurt.
What impact has your business had on the sector it works in?
Buying the land means the Alanus Foundation is building on the strategy at Campus I, the home of its further education centre as well as its arts departments. A strategy of owning land wherever university education and professional training and development is carried out under the “Alanus” brand, which is recognised throughout the region and beyond.
The space will also help us to be more attractive to students looking for an alternative in the university sector and a study course with scope for personal development and small classes.
What impact has the business had on the community?
An important aspect of the concept of Alanus University is the amalgamation of art and science. In the view of the university, this combination offers the opportunity for dialogue and mutual inspiration. Looking beyond the horizon of the students’ personal study fields is a fundamental part of the university’s educational approach.
With its Studium Generale programme, a complementary study course in cultural sciences open to all students, the university is reviving the tradition of holistic education extending beyond purely specialist studies. Seminars and lectures on philosophy and cultural history encourage students to think independently and critically, expand their horizons and empower them to find their own views on culture and society.
The university looks to motivate young people to take control of their own personal development, and that of society, and to immerse themselves on a personal level.
How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?
Just like Alanus University, Triodos Bank wants to contribute to creating positive change in society. As an educational institute, Alanus University achieves this by providing young people with the space to develop their personality and enables them to look beyond the boundaries of their individual specialist study course.
It provides training for those who want to actively shape society in their later careers contributing to the change in society that we both want to see. Together with Triodos Bank’s finance and support, we can deliver on our educational ideals.
José Canales, director of Escuela Ideo
What challenge was the inspiration for your project?
The Ideo School is based on a desire to construct a better future. A group of education professionals – both teachers and personnel from administration and services – along with a group of families understood that, to deliver such a broad objective, the first step would be to change education.
“We seek an education that trains people to be happy, healthy, aware and which supports contemporary global society”, say the founders of the project.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
The Ideo School is a secular, multilingual, integrational and mixed centre. Its philosophy is based on pupils and their families playing the leading role in their own learning process. To achieve this, the project’s methodology is based on experience, on touching, on feeling… on “learning by doing”. As well as learning content, the school ensures their pupils learn to relate to one another, collaborate with others and share experiences.
Since this is an educational centre, Triodos Bank classifies this project as within the cultural sector. But the Ideo School also includes significant environmental and social aspects, in a highly innovative way. Sustainability is central to the whole project, ranging from green electricity consumption to the launching of an ecological garden, and integrated into the daily activity of the school and with the participation of pupils of all ages.
The Ideo School also pays particular attention to education in values, under the criteria of equality and integration. This is an inclusive and diverse project. It includes experts in co-education, the integration of children with disabilities, and learning difficulties specialists among its professionals. It even transcends the walls of the school itself. The centre sees itself as a space that is open to the local neighbourhood of Madrid where it is located, and includes local residents and families in its activities.
Examples of its innovative work include the development of personalised and emotional education, teaching in Spanish, English, French and Chinese, the free, responsible usage of ICT via the development of open platforms or the promotion of commuting to the school on foot or by bicycle.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?
Right from the first contact of Triodos Bank with the Ideo School’s founders, there was full understanding and convergence of values. After a qualitative and economic analysis of the project, Triodos Bank provided finance for the initiative to help rent the school building in the Las Tablas neighbourhood of Madrid. It is located here on a temporary basis while construction on the school is completed.
Above and beyond the provision of banking services and projects, Triodos Bank recognises the innovative nature of this initiative and its valuable impact on society and in the field of education, which is why, in 2015, the Ideo School was chosen as one of the six finalist projects of the 2nd Triodos Business Awards. This award, which has a prize of EUR 10,000, is intended to highlight the contribution of the companies and projects financed by the bank using money entrusted to it by its savers. For the second year running, a large number of clients and others chose the winning project.
In addition, the Ideo School’s ecological garden has been the focal point for crowdfunding campaigns launched by the Triodos Foundation, through its micro-donations platform at www.huertoseducativos.org. Thanks to the contributions of a hundred donors, the Ideo School has benefited from EUR 3,000 to improve the equipment of its school garden conceived as a further educational resource or share knowledge and values in innovative, participatory ways.
What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?
In spite of its short history – the centre opened its doors in 2013 – the Ideo School has gradually become a model of innovative education in Madrid, and is intensely active in both the education and sustainability sectors.
The School participates, for example, in the European Stars project (Accreditation and recognition of sustainable commutes for schools), included in the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, which aims to promote active travel to work by bike or in other sustainable ways.
What impact has your business had on the community?
The Ideo School serves pupils aged two to 18. That is to say, from the very first pre-school educational stage up to bachillerato (pre-university level) in humanities, science and art, as well as sports and health care vocational courses. Over the 2015-16 academic year, 437 pupils were enrolled at the school: 102 in pre-school, 187 in primary and 148 in secondary.
“The families are with us, we move forward together”, says José Canales, the school’s head teacher. Mothers and fathers participate very actively in the curriculum of their children. This is also helped by the school’s cooperative structure, with a membership of 130 families.
“The cooperative offers the families who choose the Ideo School the opportunity to construct this project directly and effectively, creating novel channels for participation and communication”, explains Canales. Different teaching, educational and cultural activities are organised through the cooperative, as are training courses, such as the Family School, where teachers, pupils and parents participate in joint sessions.
The Ideo School also has an impact above and beyond the educational community and its own families, because many of its activities are open to residents of the neighbourhood. It also works closely with other local, national and even international initiatives, such as the Basurama collective, which specialises in the re-use of waste.
How does Triodos Bank share your vision?
In the words of the Ideo School’s head teacher, José Canales, “When we went to Triodos Bank, they welcomed us with open arms… We met people who impressed us and I believe our project impressed them, too, because we had many things in common”.
Triodos Bank shares the view that the education we offer today’s children and young people is fundamental to developing a healthy society in the future. It is why the bank supports projects like the Ideo School which, as well as promoting high-quality education adapted to current curricular demands, transmits values of humanity and respect for the environment.
The bank finances educational centres and schools where priority is given to values of tolerance, human dignity and freedom of thought, which reinforce creativity and personal development.
We define educational initiatives or establishments as ‘institutions dedicated to education’ e.g. schools, training centres. Child Care centres are only included when the majority of their activity is educational.
We only include establishments with a direct relationship to our finance or investment in our calculations.
Multiple locations of the same school or training centre are counted as one establishment.
The number of individuals educated is provided by the institution we finance and is based on actual figures for the number of people who attended courses, schools etc. If that data is not available, the average number of people who attend a course during the year, multiplied by the number of courses delivered, is calculated.
We include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project. If it is not possible to record 100% of the data required, we use conservative estimates.
The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are based on a total of 652,000 customers at the end of 2016.