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Our impact in practice

Environement

Renewable energy

Renewable energy – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

The inspiration for Awel Co-op’s wind farm was the lack of funding for local community projects. We noticed that many crucial local regeneration schemes were continually having to apply for grant funding, putting them on an insecure financial footing. So we wanted to create an income-generating project through the windfarm that could provide a sustainable income stream for these community projects.

We chose a wind project because we also wanted to address the challenges of climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy. The area immediately surrounding the wind farm has historically been a coal mining community and, with the reduction of mining activity in the area, we hit hard times. As a result, people have embraced both the idea of the wind farm as a community-owned asset for community benefit, but also moving away from a local economy based on fossil fuels to one dependent on sustainable energy.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Because the local community has a low average income, it was a challenge to bring in the money needed to do all the feasibility, planning and building work—all the work that was required before the turbines started generating electricity. As a response to this, we chose to structure the project as a co-operative to ensure that everyone had a sense of ownership. Building a few wind turbines is a lot of hard work, but I wouldn’t exactly call it innovative. Our innovation was using the excitement of the wind farm construction period and co-op ownership of the project to generate publicity and gain local interest.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

The reality is that the wind farm wouldn’t be there without Triodos Bank. It’s a £8.25m project, and the Triodos loan is £5.25m, so it’s an essential part of the scheme. But more than that, the fact that we had Triodos Bank funding gave people confidence in the project. Because we had been thoroughly looked at by an independent set of eyes, more people have been willing to buy into our share offer, which has now raised £2.5m.

In addition to the financial support, we received incredible amounts of advice over the years as we developed the project. Triodos gave us suggestions on how to go about planning and executing the plan to achieve the best outcomes and gave us insight into the types of things that would need to be in place to secure funding. More recently, Triodos has helped with local public relations and publicity, and I’ve had lots of positive feedback from people who have seen the Changemakers film Triodos produced featuring Awel Co-op.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

It’s a relatively small project in the renewables sector as a whole, but we’ve had a significant impact on the scale of community projects in Wales. It is the largest community scheme in Wales by far and has raised a lot of interest regarding the size of our share offer and the amount of Triodos Bank funding that we’ve secured. I think it’s opened up people’s eyes to the potential of community renewables. We’re even talking to a lot of assembly members in the Welsh government who are looking at what we’ve done and wanting to see it replicated. Earlier this year, I was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s honours list, and that is because of the impact that the project has had and the broader impact on community energy in Wales. This all is indirectly leading to changes in policy to support community energy and encourage shared ownership between communities and commercial developers.

What impact has your business had on the community?

One of our goals is to get more of the local community involved and give them a stake in the project. To do this, we’re donating a total of £100,000 shares to local schools and community organisations which will provide them with a sustainable income stream. We’ve given shares to some school classes already, and have invited them up to the wind farm for a tour. This has been a fantastic way to engage the community. As soon as the children realise that they own the turbines, it inspires them.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

There is a mural in the lobby of the Triodos office in Bristol that indicates we can use the resources available to us—whether our project or money in general—to “meet present-day needs without compromising those of future generations.” That’s precisely what we’re about. It also is reminiscent of the Future Generations Act in Wales, which was one of the first independent pieces of legislation from the Welsh Government. The mutual commitment to sustainable development is at the core of our relationship with Triodos and what gives us the confidence to move with the bank in partnership towards the future.

Renewable energy – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the source of inspiration for your project?

The main challenge was to adapt the project to an area that was undergoing strong development in renewable energies (wind, solar, wood, etc.) by anticipating a technology that was non-existent at the time the project was developed. We had to seek out high wind, we needed a manufacturer who could deliver the machines to a site that lacked suitable access and finally satisfy the specific features of connecting to the network. Clearly, we could not work with the machines that manufacturers were presenting to us 10 years ago. We therefore had to "invent" the machine for this farm.

What innovation did you use to address this problem?

When we talk about innovation, it is primarily from the "landscaping" perspective. When operational, this wind farm would have the tallest wind turbines in France (180 metres to the blade tip), we had to break through the ‘psychological’ ceiling of 150 metres. Just like it had taken 10 years to break through the ceiling of 100m. We spoke about the fact that manufacturers were providing their machines with blades in two pieces so that they could deliver to complicated sites and finally we had an effective and pragmatic discussion with the network manager to find an economically acceptable solution for connecting the farm.

What impact did Triodos Bank have on your company?

In order to support this innovative project, the UNITe Group chose Triodos Bank due to its long-standing competence and expertise in financing wind farms and innovative renewable energy projects in general.

Triodos Bank as an agent was involved in the project as soon as the permissions were obtained, very early in the construction phase. It was the real driving force for the project's group of banks, both in terms of the speed at which it obtained financing agreements and in its ability to move away from traditional approaches to financing renewable energy projects. For example, it incorporated crowdfunding into the finance plan, both for senior debt and capital.

What impact has your company had on your business sector?

The UNITe Group and more specifically its subsidiary that develops wind farms, ALTECH, has risen to seemingly impossible challenges several times. In 2001, we obtained planning permission for a wind farm in the municipality of Boulin en Vendée which, at the time, was the largest farm (20MW) with the tallest turbines and the highest power rating in France... The tourism and financial impact on the municipality would prove to be extremely positive. In 2010-2011, ALTECH once again obtained permissions to build Alstom's prototype offshore wind turbine, HALIADE 150 on the Carnet site in Loire-Atlantique. Finally, in 2017, the wind farm with the tallest wind turbines in France began operating. In short, the UNITe Group, and its subsidiary ALTECH, has demonstrated through its project developments that a sensible approach which respects the local area can be used to overcome all the challenges related to land development.

What has been the local impact of your company on the community?

In the municipalities where the wind park is located, Saint-Secondin and Ferrière-Airoux, we have enjoyed the unfailing support of the local communities, firstly through Mr Baudifier, former Mayor of Saint-Secondin, then with the current Mayor Mr Saumur. With this backing it was, therefore, normal for our approach to be managed with a view to the economy of the catchment area. SMEs and larger companies benefited from the project's economic influence early on, as did local shops and hotels that welcomed the arrival of the construction site staff for a year in a difficult economic context.

Finally, for 11 years, we have provided daily support for the renewable energies education initiatives conducted by the community, whether by participating in awareness days, symposiums or even by opening up some of the wind farm's capital to participatory investment.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank and UNITe share the long-term vision of renewable energy investment and the desire to combine energy transformation and responsible land management. We are working together at renewable energy conferences on how to incorporate crowdfunding into projects in order to promote local investment and to participate in the development of the smart grid (bringing production and end-consumers closer together).

The UNITe Group developed close ties with Triodos Bank during the project's financing phase, which has allowed us to confirm that we share a joint vision of sustainable development.

Renewable energy – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Garth Wind Limited is operated by North Yell Development Council, which is a charity dedicated to community development for our area. Our motto - ‘Enterprise, Initiative and Self-Help’ -was adopted a long time ago and this project fits into this aspiration well.

We had been impressed by what other communities were doing with wind power and we felt that this could be a project that we could undertake to provide green energy and to give the community some income. We felt that this could bring enormous benefits to our whole area.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

In 2003 it was decided to proceed with a project to build five wind turbines producing 4.5 megawatts of green energy for the Shetland grid, and to earn an income for the community. There have been many problems whilst developing the project, including obtaining a grid connection and planning and land issues. These were a huge challenge for the group, so it is a proud moment for the community now that the windfarm is complete.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

We chose Triodos Bank because we were aware of their track record in assisting similar projects elsewhere in Scotland, and also because of their experience in working alongside Scottish Development agencies. This, along with the bank’s ethical stance, gave us confidence that they would make a good partner in our venture. The bank was the major lender, and this ensured that the project could go ahead. We have worked very closely with Triodos staff, and their co-operation has ensured the smooth running of the project.

What impact has your business/organisation had on the sector you work in?

The windfarm that we have developed will produce 4.5 megawatts of green energy. This will replace fossil fuel generation in Shetland under a special arrangement with the grid operator. This will also help meet Scottish, UK and European targets for renewable generation.

What impact has your business/organisation had on the community?

North Yell Development Council was formed in the late 1940s, and has engaged with the community to assist development and progress since then. This project was on a much greater scale than anything ever attempted before, and presented huge challenges. The operation has been supported and enabled by volunteers, apart from the employment of a project manager in the latter stages. The whole community took a great interest in the construction phase and have been very supportive despite some short term disruption while work was taking place.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank claim on their website that they offer “sustainable banking, using the power of finance to support projects that benefit people and the planet. We believe that banking can be a powerful force for good: serving individuals and communities as well as building a more sustainable society.”
This statement fits well with the charitable objectives which are the basis of our association’s commitment to our community, and also the old motto, Enterprise, Initiative and Self-Help.

Renewable energy – Case study (photo)

Chris Derde, Manager at Fortech

Which challenge formed the inspiration for your project?

At the end of the last century, the renewable energy wind sector emerged in Denmark and Germany. Technological developments made wind energy an attractive option for electricity generation.

In our own region, the river Waas area in Belgium, we wanted to start harvesting wind power. We started the Wase Wind cooperative with four childhood friends by arranging finance for the wind turbines, both from ourselves and by involving as many people as possible. This also means that we are responsible for their investment.

We make sure that our business is financially healthy, but we do not need to make an excessive profit. Managing the invested money properly and continuing to pioneer are our main tasks – to producing 100% renewable energy – is our goal.

What was the innovation with which this problem was approached?

In 2000, we wanted to start up a renewable energy company with a small group of people. For years, the energy industry had been dominated by mergers and acquisitions and was in the hands of large companies. Both our company form and the technology were new. Our company structure separates ‘Fortech’ from ‘Wase Wind’, which enables us to limit the risks for the co-operators and allows us to supply profitable wind power.

We also chose the most efficient wind turbines. At their commissioning they were the largest and most powerful in the Benelux, driven by cutting-edge technology.

Since we began Wase Wind, it has become a cooperative of 2,000 people who, together, invest in wind power in their own region. The wind power is consumed by these cooperators, both in homes and in local businesses as well as in community buildings, such as sports centres and town halls.

Each customer co-invests and the profit is then also shared between them. Wind energy does sometimes meet with opposition because people have concerns about the visibility, about the shadows from the turbines or the noise they generate. But our neighbours have been our biggest fans, because we maintain close contact with them and address any inconvenience. For example, we throw parties to which everyone is invited and we host 750 students from schools in the region every year.

What effect did Triodos Bank have on the company?

When we obtained the necessary permits in 2004 for our first wind project and started its implementation, the traditional large banks stayed away from financing our project. They had no knowledge of the emerging wind sector. Triodos Bank did however and financed our project with proper conditions.

Triodos Bank also contributed knowledge about aspects including guarantees from the manufacturers that later turned out to be badly needed. Triodos Bank was therefore crucial to the start up of our projects and has remained our partner for the subsequent ones, even when other banks started queueing up to finance later projects.

What effect has the company had on the sector in which it operates?

As pioneers in the Belgian wind sector, we have played a leading role in the Flemish sustainable energy sector organisation ODE (Organisatie Duurzame Energie) and from there started up the Flemish Wind Energy Association.

We soon included all the wind companies operating in Flanders and set up cooperative initiatives with colleagues in Wallonia. VWEA has become the ’voice’ of the wind sector as a result of high-quality consultation in study groups, and is now recognised as such by the government. Thanks to patient and considered consultation within the sector and with the government, wind energy regulations could be refined incrementally, so that the necessary guarantees are provided for both the energy companies and the people they serve.

What effect has the company had on the community?

Three wind turbines alongside a major motorway in Kruibeke, Belgium, have been producing electricity from wind energy since 2005. This production corresponds to half of the household consumption of the 15,000 residents of greater Kruibeke.

The company also constructed the 'Braemland II' wind project on the opposite side of the E17 motorway in Melsele. This has produced green electricity for 2,300 families since 2009. The electricity is offered by the cvba (cooperative) Wase Wind to families and agricultural and other companies in the river Waas area.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank shares a clear long-term vision on sustainable energy with Wase Wind. In addition to building more capacity from sustainable energy sources, it is important to invest in a more resilient, socially embedded and balanced energy system. New technologies, such as the connecting of the various local players, contribute to the creation of short, efficient and decentralized chains.

The effect is increased further by local embedding in the towns, companies and communities that make use of the energy that’s generated. Sustainable models like Wase Wind’s become about more than the environment alone and also focus on wider social benefits.

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the source of inspiration for your project?

The scale of agriculture started to change dramatically in the 1960s and 70s. Increasingly large farms have had all sorts of effects, many of them negative: animals freedom of movement and well-being has often declined. By contrast organic food and farming takes the environment and animal welfare into consideration; animals have more space than on conventional farms, for example, and genetic engineering and chemical pesticides are not permitted. DO-IT’s challenge has been to promote this more environmentally-sound approach to farming.

What innovation did you use to address this problem?

DO-IT was founded in 1991 by Poppe Braam. The company, and its founder, is driven by a strong commitment to stimulate organic farming and build sustainable trade relations with, and between, farmers in developing countries and buyers in Europe. The company has developed relationships with 170 suppliers in more than 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America buying over 850 products from them; from nuts, quinoa, dried fruit and sugar, to rice and olive oil. The company works closely with local farmers and cooperatives and shares knowledge about organic farming practices. DO-IT has also launched two consumer brands – La BIO IDEA and Amaizin – that are available in European health-food stores.

What impact did Triodos Bank have on your company?

In 2016, Triodos Organic Growth Fund took a minority stake in DO-IT. In the Fund, DO-IT has found an investor with a shared vision and a commitment for the long-term to help DO-IT realise its growth and other ambitions.

Triodos Organic Growth Fund was launched in January 2014 as a long-term ‘evergreen’ fund. It invests in equity in leading, non-listed companies in sustainable consumer products in Europe, with a focus on organic food, sustainable clothing and textiles, and personal care.

What impact has your company had on your business sector?

In 2018, DO-IT will co-sponsor, for the fifth time, a popular series of six dialogues about the future of agriculture and food from a global perspective. ‘It’s the Food, my friend’, aims to co-create a broad, long-term vision on food that contributes to an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable food and agriculture sector. Audiences of around 300 people from different backgrounds: farmers, students, bankers, traders, consultants and government representatives participate in the event.

In addition, Poppe Braam, DO-IT’s CEO, is an active board member of the Dutch association of organic producers and traders (BioNederland) and Stichting EKO-Keurmerk, a well-known and the oldest organic quality label for organic food in The Netherlands. He also actively participates in strengthening and creating the International Organic Trade Association.

What has been the local impact of your company on the community?

Fortunately, an increasing number of consumers choose to buy and eat organic. To meet this demand, it is essential to increase organic cultivation, including in developing countries. Thanks to the long-term relationships that DO-IT has built up with farmers and producers in recent years it is in a position to help meet this demand and put the interests of farmers first as a result. DO-IT has mainly set up its own agricultural projects, with small local farmers and cooperatives. The goal of their fair-trade projects is not just to access premium quality certified organic products but also to contribute to a better quality of life for the farmers it works with.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Society consumes more natural resources than the earth can provide. This global overuse, driven by a short-term consumerist mindset, leads to natural resource depletion, such as declining soil fertility and a loss of biodiversity, and decreased resilience in the supply chains of food and other consumer products. These challenges call for a much-needed transition to sustainable production and consumption; a transition that DO-IT and Triodos Bank are both committed to.

Triodos Bank aims to accelerate the transition to more sustainable agricultural systems and consumption patterns by financing businesses, like DO-IT, across the supply chain that safeguard nature, promote fairness and transparency, improve livelihoods of farmers and encourage mindful consumption.

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development – Case study (photo)

What was the challenge for this project?

To unshackle animals from the food chain was the motivation for organic arable farmer, Jaap Korteweg, to start the Vegetarian Butcher almost ten years ago. He realised that we keep lots of animals for one purpose only: to eat them. Animals are often seen as meat-production machines. In addition, intensive animal farming regularly leads to crises, such as avian flu or swine fever epidemics prompting massive slaughter programmes.

These problems can be avoided because, according to Jaap Korteweg, we don’t need animals to produce meat. The Vegetarian Butcher produces vegetable meat. Better still, he makes products like sausages, meatballs and croquettes from vegetable ingredients – but with the taste and structure of meat.

How is the project’s approach innovative?

The Vegetarian Butcher is a classic example of an innovative business, both in its recipes for the products and the way in which they are marketed. The business produces the meat substitutes on the basis of lupine and soy. It uses lupine and soy beans to make fibres with a firm ‘bite’. These form the core ingredient of the products, which has the taste of meat.

The company won third place in the battle for the Gouden Gehaktbal [golden meatball] held by a national Dutch newspaper among 43 participants who used real meat. The Vegetarian Butcher is a rapidly-growing business. Their products are widely available and can be found on the shelves of both organic food outlets and regular supermarkets in The Netherlands.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?

Triodos Bank has financed the construction and fitting-out of the Vegetarian Butcher Factory in Breda since the beginning of 2017. Up to now, the company had its vegetable meat produced by external parties. But because of its rapid growth, it is important that production remains in the company’s own hands. That’s the reason for the new plant, which opened its doors in 2017. Apart from the loan from Triodos Bank, the company also organised a successful crowdfunding campaign, which raising 2.5 million euros for the factory’s construction.

What impact does the project have on the sector?

Jaap Korteweg is a successful entrepreneur whose influence as a vegetarian butcher is inspiration to the wider agricultural and food sector.

Korteweg started as an organic farmer in a family business that has been handed from father to son for generations. But he had a dream: to produce vegetable meat. The growth of his business shows other organic farmers that you can realise your dream with hard work and inspiration. This inspiration is key in an often conservative and protective sector.

What impact does the project have on society?

The ecological pressure caused by meat production is much larger than that of arable farming. Cattle, swine and poultry, for instance, create a huge manure surplus, which pollutes soil and ground water. Poultry farming also emits a lot of fine particles, which cause air pollution that are harmful to the public health. The production of vegetable meat from a social perspective therefore has enormous added value. It simply avoids major problems.

How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?

Triodos Bank finances entrepreneurs who work with their heart and their head. Jaap Korteweg is an excellent example of just that. His drive is a social ideal: producing healthy meat in an environmentally, and animal-friendly, way. He successfully gives shape to that ideal. This combination of idealism and pragmatism aligns perfectly with the mission and vision of Triodos Bank.

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development – Case study (photo)

Färm is a cooperative of organic stores with a product offering which is as committed to sustainability as possible; supplied by organic Fairtrade, local and small family-owned companies, among others. But Färm is much more than just an organic store. It is a cooperative from producer to consumer that shortens the distance between the customer and the producer ensuring that both work together so that the food in our society cements relationships and so that everyone can feed themselves in the most sustainable and delicious way possible.

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Our vision is to make food a link between people once again. We want to use food to convey meaning in society, which in recent decades has lost its way slightly, because the agrifood industry has become a financial industry more than a real foundation for human society.

Basically, a store is a place where we can create this link. It’s a place where the products are a means of communication between the consumer, who also rediscovers meaning in their action, and the producer behind the product, who uses all their expertise and passion to transform it into a product that will be consumed with pleasure.

When we started in 2009, we were very aware that organic consumers were people who were extremely mindful and thoughtful about the entire universe, about any impact, environmental or human. They too were an inspiration to start our business.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

We have commercial buying procedures with producers as well as cooperatives. So we intended to develop these relationships to make Färm a tool to help build resilient industries by creating effective cooperative partnerships with producers. Agribio is one example. It is a cooperative of grain producers in Wallonia, who are also millers; they make their own flour on the farm. In 2016, we joined forces with them to create a 50/50 cooperative between them and us to set up a new bakery cooperative. This cooperative makes all the bread that we distribute in our Färm stores but also for any other stores that want to take advantage of this offer of 100% natural and organic bread, without any added products other than flour, water and salt.

The next step will be to establish other new production sectors in a way that has much more impact, for meat, for dairy products, grain products and market gardening products.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Working with Triodos Bank has enabled us to increase our number of sales outlets since it finances us with enthusiastic support for each of our requests. We have established a relationship of trust between our two organisations. And associating Färm with Triodos Bank also shows we are consistent in putting sustainability at the centre of everything we do. I therefore consider it to be a real partnership that we strengthen together.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

It is really interesting that suppliers and producers increasingly want to build resilient and sustainable industries with us when they grow through our network. We agree much better contracts with them and are primarily concerned with developing specifications that are committed environmentally and socially, further increasing the social impact of organic and sustainable food.

A producer no longer wants to be just a tool for the mass production and industrialisation of food, they really want to become craftsmen again in terms of both the products themselves and the land. To be able to give these producers an opportunity to develop their business, their passion and their values because of the Färm cooperative and stores is extremely exciting.

What impact has your business had on the community?

There are two types of impact when a Färm store is opened. Firstly, the local customer base is very happy because we set up sales outlets on a human scale where the relationship with the shopkeeper is important, our staff are in the store and know our customers and their habits. So there is a much more family-like relationship reinstated with the shopkeeper.

In terms of employees, I generally think that people are also looking for meaning in their work today, regardless of the job. And that's really challenging. It's not always easy to connect to a reality and with meaning in a job that may not always seem easy on a daily basis, working the land, working in a store, or working in an office. Our ambition is that every day, each action at work is an act of passion connected to something stronger, larger and more cohesive between various stakeholders, whether colleagues or producers with who eventually become partners.

Through the Färm cooperative, our aim is to re-establish the link in society thanks simply to food which is the basis of our entire system.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

An interesting element and common ground between Triodos Bank and Färm, is the choice of products. Just as Triodos carefully selects its investment products and loans - the entities to which it provides loans, so does Färm select its products and producers. We do not work with just anyone and do not stock just any product. That is an example of genuine common ground between our two organisations.

To ensure that the products we sell in Färm stores are the most thoughtful and committed on the market, we have set up a Brand Committee, in which all employees are now invited to participate, to select the products and brands to be included in the Färm catalogue. The products comply with a very strategic set of criteria, defined in our product charter that translates our values into reality. These are criteria such as Fairtrade, organic, local products, direct products, company size, whether a product comes from a family-owned company or not, etc. All of these criteria are reflected in each of the brands that are listed in Färm stores by all employees in a participative and equal way.

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development – Case study (photo)

Thomas Harttung, co-founder Aarstiderne

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

On average, if you look at organic agriculture as an industry, we are over-promising and under-delivering. Søren [joint co-founder of Aarstiderne] and I wanted to go against the grain of organic thinking to become a successful business. We wanted to change how consumers view and consume food.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

From a strategic perspective, the story for the last 10 years has been about mainstreaming organic to make it relevant to the marketplace. Our [Søren and I] innovation was to deliver meal boxes, expanding from fruit and vegetable to meat and fish, and getting people excited about organic through meal experiences. And we are also increasingly developing new models of agriculture.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

In 1999, the World Organic Conference had a workshop – where I was on the panel – about green private equity meeting green ideas and developing a language of trust between green entrepreneurs and the banks. Triodos Bank was also on the panel and from there, we established a great relationship where Triodos became an investor in our business and our financing became more sustainable. Triodos understood that this movement is about doing something that makes sense for the long term.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

If you look at what I’ll be doing over the next 2-3 years, emphasis will be on developing the next version or template for organic agriculture. With the present scale of organic agriculture and the interest from the public, there is actually an opportunity for Aarstiderne to revisit the more fundamental principles and create an organic agriculture system that is more in tune with the true aspirations and expectations of our customers.

What impact has your business had on the community?

Aarstiderne has grown to a business which serves 54,000 customers mostly in Demark, but also in Sweden. It has expanded the fruit and vegetable box distribution to include meal boxes with measured ingredients, such as: meat/fish, vegetarian, diet, etc. as well as recipes. We are the market leader because we consistently deliver an improvement in people’s quality of life and their sustainability at the same time. We’re enabling people to realise the life they really want to live. Young urban professionals struggle enormously because they love their jobs and careers, but this is affecting their ability to take care of themselves and their children. They want solutions to get them through Monday to Friday and we deliver on that consistently. The good news is that our customers will always have more ambitions and we will always find ways to deliver more meaningful solutions that cater to a greater sense of happiness, sustainability and convenience.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

If you ask me, our values are very much in line with Triodos. Triodos can contribute by being a long-term investor with us and also invest in other like-minded businesses that can contribute to a better common future and increased innovation. By supporting and investing in companies that are on the same journey, we can increase the likelihood of this becoming a very broad movement.

Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development – Case study (photo)

Frank van Dommelen, senior relationship manager

What challenge was the inspiration for this project?

To combine sustainability and animal welfare, with modern, profitable operational management, in the agricultural sector requires constant innovation. This is also the case for entrepreneur and farmer Sjaak Sprangers, who runs his dairy farm in addition to and partly in a Dutch nature reserve between Tilburg and ’s-Hertogenbosch.

With an ageing dairy shed, new accommodation for Sjaak’s cows was essential. The challenge was ambitious: to build a new cow shed that integrated with the natural environment, promoted the wellbeing of the livestock, limited ammonia emissions, promoted and protected the soil conditions in the nature reserve – and that simultaneously offers a perspective on modern entrepreneurship.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The construction of a cow shed in this natural environment, with so many wishes and demands, requires very broad support and a lot of knowledge. Sjaak Sprangers therefore started a dialogue with environmental groups, the local nature group, the municipality of Kaatsheuvel, the southern agricultural and horticultural organisation, the association of dune, Agricultural University of Wageningen and different agrarian and technical contractors.

For the financial component, he approached a number of grant facilities in Brussels. The ministry of Economic Affairs also made a contribution. Contractors and technical developers also offered financial backing.

Combining the knowledge, innovation, inspiration, determination, commitment and passion of these groups has resulted in the development of a new type of cow shed, the quatrain cowshed or ‘Kwatrijnstal’.

Some distinctive features:

Environment

The quatrain cow shed is an innovative dairy shed adapted to its landscape. It offers a high degree of animal welfare, low ammonia emissions and broad public support. It has a unique floor, which disposes urine and solid manure separately. This strongly reduces ammonia emissions and improves biodiversity.

Natural environment

Because of the transparent design and the unique roof construction, the cow shed integrates well with the environment and passers-by can see what’s happening inside. Compared to a closed cow shed, the quatrain appears to be much smaller, not least because the environment is visible throughout the cowshed.

The roof construction, which comprises different levels, gives the cow shed a friendlier appearance, which is in harmony with the scale of the landscape and the region’s traditional architecture.

Animal welfare

Cows have 50% more room for movement than a traditional dairy shed in the quatrain cow shed. There are ‘islands’ for lying down on straw beds which offer insulation and absorb moisture. Straw also adds extra value to solid manure. A special machine automatically distributes the straw across the islands.

Milking is done in a mobile milking system that operates on solar energy. The cow shed is designed so that there are no ‘dead corners’ in which the animals can crowd. The areas where the animals can lie down are very spacious and the feeding gate is open. This avoids the animals injuring themselves or each other. Naturally, the cows have unlimited access to the nature reserve outside all year round.

Organically aware

The animals are fed organic products with all roughage from the nature reserve itself. Organic manure is also returned to nature again.

The size of the cow shed means that illness or animal injury seldom occur and medication, such as antibiotics, aren’t required. Partly as a result of this, the Jersey cows produce healthy milk of such high quality that it can be processed into organic ice-cream, cheese and other dairy products by a small-scale dairy processor.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Sjaak Sprangers already had an organic farming business and used to bank with one of the large banks. Additional finance was required because the project demanded an innovative approach and required public support, and he believed that a bank was also needed that actually fitted with the overall approach.

With Triodos Bank, he was able to raise ‘green’ money to build the cow shed. Moreover, Triodos Bank was well known in this sector and they could offer constructive input during the planning development. Other stakeholders also felt that Triodos Bank’s involvement was positive.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

There was a lot of focus on this project within environmental and nature groups and in the different agricultural organisations, including a working and advisory group that offers support and advises entrepreneurs to set up new agricultural projects in or near nature reserves.

The ‘Kwatrijn’ has become an initiative that could be adopted by more farmers, and the developers’ intention is to market this concept. Various professional excursions are being organised for fellow farmers.

What impact has your business had on the community?

In the run-up to and during the construction of the shed, numerous people from the immediate vicinity were able to follow these developments. This contributed towards broad public support.
The new quatrain cow shed of Sjaak and Suzanne Sprangers was opened with great fanfare by state secretary Sharon Dijksma in 2015, which also gave the project national exposure. The shed and the approach show that there are excellent opportunities tocombine nature and agriculture.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

The owner is a very passionate organic dairy farmer who can tell lots of stories about his animals and their natural environment. The well-being of his animals is high on the agenda for Sjaak Sprangers; to him, it’s inseparable from an agricultural system that allows as many natural elements as possible to return and does not rely on fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and medicines. This fits perfectly with the mission of Triodos Bank.

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

When I first came to Vitsœ, the company was based in Germany, and Dieter Rams, who was also head of design at Braun, was responsible for Vitsœ’s product design. Dieter is one of the foremost industrial designers of the 20th century. For him, good design is about human beings, and therefore good design would be innovative, useful, understandable, unobtrusive, long-lasting and environmentally-friendly. As a result, Vitsœ has been determined for almost 60 years to make products that last a long time; products that can be repaired and added to; products that will be timeless. It was only later – with the environmental movement growing – that I noticed Vitsœ had been addressing environmental concerns since the 1950s via the common-sense approach of designing adaptable products to last.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

At Vitsœ our purpose is to allow more people to live better, with less, that lasts longer. We actively encourage our customers to buy less from us because they can be safe in the knowledge that we will still be here in the future when they want to add more. We are even aware of our customers putting their Vitsœ furniture in their wills to ensure that it is valued by a particular member of the next generation. We have been identified by academics as a “sufficiency business” because we encourage our customers to buy only what they absolutely need. As a result, we do not discount or have sales because we do not have obsolete products to clear. We do not introduce new colours or models to try and stimulate short-term sales. Where possible, all of our new products are backwards compatible with the old ones, and we absolutely never build in obsolescence.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Triodos is only one of a few financial organisations that we would actually work with. In 1973, in ‘Small is Beautiful’, EF Schumacher identified greed and envy as the root of our world’s problems. We are keen to work with those who are prepared to take a more altruistic approach. When the opportunity came up in 2014 to buy the site for our new building in Leamington Spa we felt that the best way at that stage was to go to our customers for support. We set up the Vitsœ Bond, and that's how we funded construction and occupation. Once we were in the building we approached Triodos to see if you would help us with the next phase of our growth. We had conversations with other banks but, in our heart of hearts, we knew that only Triodos would fundamentally understand what we are trying to achieve.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

In a fashion-driven world Vitsœ is, – as a product and company – resolutely unfashionable. Yet, in a wonderfully ironic way, we are really loved in the fashion world. It’s similar in the world of music. There is a nice picture of David Bowie sitting in the lotus position in front of his Vitsœ shelves, for example. What’s set us apart in our sector is that we have been innovators in connecting closely with our worldwide customers – using both the internet and our own shops – so that we have direct relationships with them in more than 60 countries.

The way I think about it, we’re not really a furniture business, we just happen to make furniture. When you speak to our customers, what they are getting from us is a better quality of life. We are enriching one area of their lives where there is often stress involved – namely organising their homes. They express their confidence that Vitsœ looks after them.

What impact has your business had on the community?

We operate on the fundamental principle that business needs to make a positive contribution to the common good. That means your community needs to include your neighbours, employees, suppliers and customers. Our new headquarters in Leamington Spa is really a statement of intent. Our suppliers are mostly within 90 minutes of us, giving us a tight industrial cluster. Our building is intentionally transparent—people can see in, and we can see out. We want to connect with our community – which includes the many local schools, colleges and universities that provide our future employees.

We have created a building that puts human beings at the centre. It is made from natural materials; it is lit naturally; and it is ventilated naturally. It is designed for conversations, to minimise the need for formal meetings, and to facilitate the serendipitous human connection that will solve day-to-day problems spontaneously.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

The People, Planet, Profit argument that Triodos rightfully articulates fits very strongly with Vitsœ. We have to find those organisations that are set up with a wider concern for the people and our planet. Sadly, the list is desperately short. Of course, just as your body needs oxygen, food and water to survive, so your business needs profit. But profit is not the reason for a company to exist. All businesses must exist for a purpose. What we are trying to do, and what I believe Triodos is so good at, is to excel as a company doing the right thing for the right reasons – while also nudging as many people as we possibly can in this direction. It is only by doing this that we stand any chance of making the world a better place.

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages – Case study (photo)

Futurn is a project developer that focuses on creating new spaces by redeveloping under-utilised sites via decontamination, demolition, renovation and new building work. With its Westgate project, Futurn is redeveloping an old printworks site at Brussels' West gate. The project involves the development of a multipurpose business park on the printing company’s existing site as its activities gradually decrease over the next three or four years.

Which challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Land is very scarce in Belgium. So we need to be creative with the land that’s available. That also means: more companies in fewer square metres. Old industrial sites are not attractive because the buildings and design no longer suit the needs of today's businesses. The risk is that they remain empty as a result, creating a local eyesore. But, in reality, there is plenty of potential in these sites.

The market context is competitive, which means we need to make sure that our redevelopment projects are equivalent to our competitors’ in terms of price and quality.

What was so innovative about the way this problem was addressed?

Redeveloping old industrial sites is a great challenge for project developers because they can be very complex in terms of all the technological, environmental, conceptual, architectural, fiscal and legal issues that are involved. Complex projects that involve some risk have many aspects that require an innovative approach.

We go into great detail examining the quality of the buildings, in order to see whether they can be recycled - down-cycling you might say. Certain demolition materials are recycled in our projects. We also look for additional value in up-cycling: how can we use the buildings in new ways, give them a new home, a new purpose, to suit the future economy.

Finally, we also try to put more content into our project by mixing functions. We use both roads and infrastructure, and consider the aesthetics and architecture of a building in the context of its surroundings.

What was the impact of the company or organisation on the sector in which it operates?

Our business model allows us to accommodate more businesses in a smaller space. This creates a context in which companies can work together more closely, because they form a kind of business community within the project.

We notice that authorities often regard our projects as a reference and promote redevelopment wherever possible.

What was the impact of the company or organisation on the community?

Futurn tries to involve the local community in each of its projects. We sometimes use cultural events and sometimes we opt for events geared towards young people or sports. That way we create a positive attitude towards the project.

What was the impact of Triodos Bank on the company or organisation?

Triodos Bank’s focus on sustainability challenges us to go further in this direction.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank appreciates the essence of Futurn's business model. In particular the recycling of existing industrial sites to protect and benefit from scarce space.

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for this project?

Tres Cantos is the youngest municipality in the Madrid area, having been officially established in 1991. And it is where, in 2003, the Arroyo Bodonal cooperative came into being, when a group of local young people decided, with their parents, to develop a building comprising 80 homes using sustainable and energy-efficient criteria so they could continue to live in the town where they grew up.

The social motivation of these families was closely linked to their environmental motivation, “although at first some people said to us that energy efficiency was synonymous with a luxury home,” admits Antonio Martínez, the secretary of Arroyo Bodonal. Nevertheless, they soon proved that “sustainable housing is sellable”. All 80 residences in the development were purchased shortly after being put up for sale, with significant energy-saving and economic results.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

This housing project includes the use and control of alternative energies, such as geothermal energy for the heating and air conditioning system and LED lights. Coupled with its insulation system, all of these measures make for an energy saving of over 531,000 kWh. The reduction of the building’s CO2 emissions amounts to 150 tonnes a year, “the equivalent of withdrawing 137 petrol-run cars every year or planting 58 hectares of forest - over 23,000 trees”, according to Arroyo Bodonal.

The building has kinetic recovery lifts and a system for grey water and rainwater reuse that saves around 7,000 m3 of water every year.

The garage, for example, includes battery recharging points for electric cars, contributing to cleaner air. All of the collective lighting uses LEDs, the electrical appliances in the homes are A+++ rated for their high energy efficiency, the lifts work using static accumulation (they consume energy as they go up and accumulate part of that energy as they come down). The ventilation system, which is tailored to each residence, allows for cooling or heating of the air that enters depending on the external temperature.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

“Triodos Bank did what no other bank had done. Apart from analysing the economic side of the initiative, like any other bank, they audited the project technically to check that it was in line with their goal of sustainability”, explains the secretary of Arroyo Bodonal. “I admit that I did not know about them, but when I contacted their people, I changed my banking philosophy”, says Martínez.

The construction of the development was possible thanks to the contributions of the members of the cooperative and EUR 15 million of finance from Triodos Bank. It also provided access to sustainable mortgages for its residents. The cooperative developers proudly state that “Arroyo Bodonal did not receive a single cent of aid from any public or private institution”.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

This building project represents the largest geothermal energy installation in the municipality of Madrid. It’s also the largest residential project of its type in Europe in terms of the number of homes, the power required for them and the surface area of the building. The success of this development has proven to the entire sector that it is possible to build in a different way, to the highest standards of energy efficiency and without an excessive cost overrun; and all for private housing that are ot necessarily luxury homes or in the countryside. The results of the monitoring of energy consumption confirm the sustainability of the project and position it as a model within the sector.

“This is an emblematic work not only on a regional and national level, but also within Europe”, say the cooperative members, because until now geothermal resources have only been applied to smaller buildings in Spain. Geothermal resources as an energy source meet just 0.03% of Spain’s housing’s energy needs, as opposed to 30% in countries like Sweden.

With regard to energy efficiency, the residences have been awarded the A rating. They meet LEED international sustainability certification. Indeed the USGBC (US Green Building Council), which manages LEED certifications, has awarded the building a LEED Platinum rating.

The building won the prize for best energy-efficiency real estate initiative in the country in 2016, from ASPRIMA (Asociación de Promotores Inmobiliarios de Madrid – Association of Real Estate Developers of Madrid). It was also recognised as the best geothermal installation in the construction of a private building in the municipality of Madrid, an award of the Regional Ministry for Industry and Economy.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The direct impact on a local level of the Arroyo Bodonal cooperative is the one it makes on the 80 families who live in this building. More than 80% of the buyers of the residential development are people from Tres Cantos who are under the age of 40 and who were having difficulties finding a home in their native town. The cooperative has given them an opportunity to enjoy a residence which also incorporates the very highest standards of sustainability.

The residences have an average surface area of 100 m2. The average monthly cost of energy per occupied home, for the supply of hot water, heating and air conditioning and maintaining a temperature of between 20 and 24ºC throughout the year, is around 40 euros.

The economic saving given the level of comfort these homes amounts to 130,000 euros a year for the building as a whole, or about 155 euros a month for an average home.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank believes it is necessary to boost sustainable construction in sectors like banking. The sectors it is interested in include the environment, an area which encompasses different public or private initiatives. The bank finances housing developments that stand out for their sustainability or social approach. It also offers residents the chance to take out a Triodos Mortgage (Hipoteca Triodos), as in the case of Arroyo Bodonal in which, given the A+ energy rating of the homes, the buyers benefitted from a lower interest rate on their mortgage.

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages – Case study (photo)

Wim van de Bogerd, CEO KlimaatGarant

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Buildings, including residential homes, are responsible for a large part of the world’s total CO2 emissions. And CO2 emissions directly contribute to damaging climate change. At KlimaatGarant we are motivated by the belief that by building efficiently and sustainably using existing techniques, we can provide energy-neutral homes and limit CO2 emissions to a very large extent.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Klimaatgarant develops energy-neutral homes and communities. Through heat cold storage, and optimal insulation and ventilation we guarantee a ‘zero’ bill for heating, ventilation and tap water; no energy costs, except for the use of household appliances. Our systems derive their power from solar roof panels.

Traditional energy providers aim to sell as much energy as possible. That is the big difference with our model: we sell ‘zero energy’. We guarantee that houses are energy neutral. We first reduce the energy use as much as possible and then meet the remaining energy need as sustainably as possible. We use concepts and techniques that have proven themselves in thousands of homes already. We own the installations, and the home owner rents them from us.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

With finance from Triodos Bank we were able to kick-start this energy neutral project. Through it we can provide energy efficient houses to starters on the housing market.

On a more personal level, we are proud of the recognition our work as winners of the Triodos Heart-Head award. We will use the prize money to develop an energy measurement app; we are convinced that if you have more insight into your energy use, this will stimulate you to reduce it further.

What impact does your business have on the sector you work in?

We create awareness; we show that it is possible to build energy-neutral homes. A growing number of municipalities and project developers believe in our concept. We think that within three years, all newly built houses will be energy-neutral.

What impact does your company have on the community?

Our impact is on the environment first and foremost, and specifically how we contribute to reduce CO2-emissions. In a broader sense, our impact is that we make people aware by showing it is possible to build energy-neutral homes.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank and KlimaatGarant both work towards a more sustainable society. We are both trying to counter the adverse effects of the use of fossil energy – climate change, amongst others – by stimulating the use of renewable energy and by stimulating the efficient use of energy.

Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages – Case study (photo)

Raphaël Nouwen, senior relationship manager SME

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Vuurtoreneiland, or lighthouse island, is a 300 year old, artificial island in the Markermeer lake, close to Amsterdam. A stone lighthouse was first built on the site in 1700. The current wrought-iron one is from 1893 and is still Amsterdam’s only lighthouse. The island also has a lighthouse keeper’s house and an abandoned fort. The fort is part of the old Amsterdam defence system and is on the UNESCO world heritage list.

To retain the island’s unique natural historic value, the Forestry department, that owns the island, issued a public European tender in 2012 to develop the island commercially. The income from the commercial activities should finance the conservation and maintenance of the landscape and the listed buildings. The Forestry department also wants to open the heritage site to the general public so that everyone can enjoy it.

Two young entrepreneurs saw this as an exciting challenge and submitted a unique plan to the Forestry department. It started with a pilot project in which they ran a pop-up-like construction and a small-scale restaurant for one summer. Visitors were ferried across to the uninhabited island, where organic and regional dishes were served in an idyllic setting. It was a resounding success and they’re now already into their fourth year with the full support of the Forestry department.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The entrepreneurs succeeded in making this a unique island experience, connecting conservation and the experience of nature and the island’s special buildings.

They use the income from the restaurant to maintain and manage the landscape, the fort and the lighthouse. Conscious and sustainable choices were made to generate electricity. ‘Heat the people not the place’ is an old concept where instead of heating entire spaces, only areas which have people in them are heated. For example, in the restaurant, only the space under the tables are heated. The chairs are covered in sheepskin and wood from the island is used in the venue’s hearths.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Triodos Bank has contributed towards the conservation of this extraordinary island. Its finance additionally ensured that the island could be open to the public, where people meet and are able to enjoy a piece of wild nature with roaming animals and rare flora, very close to the city.

What impact does your business have on the sector you work in?

Vuurtoreneiland is a source of inspiration for other re-zoning projects. The combination of the different and divergent aspects of sustainability with a small-scale organic catering facility makes this project unique and an attractive example for the sector.

What impact does your company have on the community?

People from Amsterdam and beyond visit the island to escape from the daily rat race and experience nature. As well as employing a small number of people locally It is also very important that, with the arrival of a commercial party, the natural and cultural-historic value of the island is conserved for the future.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank finances sustainable projects that put people, the environment and society at their heart. This multidisciplinary vision is shared by the people who have developed the lighthouse island. After three successful seasons, Vuurtoreneiland has proven how entrepreneurs can combine commercial activities in a vulnerable environment in a sustainable way.

Culture

Arts and culture

Arts and culture – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

In Spain, there are more than 2 million people with a visual or hearing disability. How is somebody supposed to enjoy a film or television programme if they cannot hear or see? This realisation was the starting point for technological research performed at University Carlos III of Madrid.

WhatsCine is a technological company that was created in 2013 as a result of this research at an academic level, with the aim of providing everybody with the freedom of being able to enjoy the cinema and television, regardless of their abilities and promoting equal opportunities in terms of appreciating audiovisual content. Furthermore, this app allows for additional languages and original versions to be used, expanding the range of options and bringing audiovisual content to an even wider audience.

Enjoying leisure time boosts our health and well-being, in addition to our social and family lives. WhatsCine employs technology to ensure the accessibility of audiovisual content.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

WhatsCine offers the first and only technology in the entire world to date capable of bringing cultural content to people with audiovisual disabilities in an inclusive manner and without affecting other viewers.

It uses tailor-made software available in the form of an app for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) that integrates three accessibility systems: audio description, subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and sign language interpretation so that the user can choose the mode that best suits his or her needs and enjoy a film at the cinema or television content in real time.

Visual accessibility is offered by means of audio description, through headphones owned by the user. This entails an audible description that provides blind users or those with low vision, with a description of the scenes, characters, shapes, colours, circumstances and details in a way that they can be included in dialogue and narration without interfering with the original audio.

In turn, hearing accessibility is offered via subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and sign language interpretation. Users with hearing disabilities can choose between either of the two options. Both are shown on the screen of the user's smartphone or tablet, designed in such a way that people nearby are not affected.

The WhatsCine app is available for both iOS and Android, and is completely free of charge.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

WhatsCine has already adapted more than 600 films in Spain and 1,000 episodes of TV series and is preparing to launch in new markets, with a new office opening in Miami soon.

It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people that have benefited from the technology offered by WhatsCine, although the mobile app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, and has a score of 4.3 out of 5. “It offers us the independence and normalisation we have always sought,” asserts one user. “Being able to enjoy a film at the cinema with my son and family is priceless,” states another.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

WhatsCine has forged alliances in the private sector, creating a 360º circle of alliances with distributors, producers, cinema owners and television stations that offer inclusive, accessible and varied content to this audience in any place and at any time, which was unthinkable for people with audiovisual disabilities 4 years ago, all thanks to the hard work and efforts of WhatsCine.

According to WhatsCine's developers, it is anticipated that in the future, agreements may be struck with public authorities and governments that set out regulations structured around the right of accessibility and inclusion of those with audiovisual disabilities.

What local impact has your business had on the community?

WhatsCine promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, providing employment to people with different abilities who generally experience more difficulties finding work or are at risk of exclusion. Thanks to WhatsCine, more than 40 jobs have been created in Spain, at the different associations and companies that produce the facilities and more quality jobs will be offered in the future.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank shares the commitment to the social integration of people with disabilities, in addition to the opinion that culture and high-quality leisure should be accessible to everybody. WhatsCine offers a response both to the social aspect of offering support to people with disabilities and the cultural aspect, promoting universal access to audiovisual content, both at the cinema and via television, bringing audiovisual content to everybody.

Arts and culture – Case study (photo)

What was the challenge for this project?

The Herman van Veen Arts Centre in Soest in The Netherlerlands is situated on an old estate. This arts and culture centre was established in 2012 and is an initiative of Dutch artist and performer Herman van Veen and his long-time guitarist, Edith Leerkens.

Culture and nature come together here and merge. For example, the listed mansion on the estate exhibits paintings by Herman van Veen, there are nature activities for children and adults in a freely accessible park, and an old field barn is home to a small theatre. The venue has 80 seats and offers a platform for young artists who want to combine theatre, music and dance.

How is the approach of the project innovative?

No tickets are for sale for performances in the Arts Centre’s theatre; at least, not in advance. Anyone who wants to attend a performance can simply drop by. And this is how people get to know the estate and discover what other activities are on offer, such as exhibitions.

This innovative concept makes the Arts Centre a personal experience. It does not focus on the anonymous ‘theatre consumer’ who buys tickets online, but on people who are receptive to surprises and encounters. People who wish to support the Arts Centre can become a friend and stay connected for a longer time.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?

The relationship between Triodos Bank and the Arts Centre goes back several years already. Right from the centre’s start, the bank has been in discussions about the funding and running of the estate. And in 2016, the bank provided a mortgage to acquire the old mansion, a national monument.

In this, Triodos Bank and the Triodos Cultural Fund – each of which provided half of the funding – joined forces with the Dutch national restoration Fund (Nationaal Restauratiefonds). The Fund is responsible for financing the restoration of the building, which houses exhibition, office and work space. Following restoration in 2017, it will also serve as a venue for receptions, dinners and business meetings.

What impact does the project have on the sector?

The Arts Centre offers young, artistic talent an opportunity and, in this way, contributes to the further development of the cultural sector. The focus is specifically on artists who combine different genres, which fits in with the versatility of Herman van Veen himself.

The centre also demonstrates the added value of organising cultural events at a location characterised by nature. Indoors and outdoors are combined. The tranquillity of nature outside inspires the shows and other activities inside. In addition, theatre performances are also staged partly outdoors.

What impact does the project have on society?

The Herman van Veen Arts Centre inspires, and in many ways. It is a beautiful place where exciting things happen. It has a specific focus on children. For example, there are treasure hunts through the woods on the estate. And it is home to the little house of Alfred J. Kwak: the little duckling that gained worldwide fame partly through a 52-part television series.

The attention on children is deliberate. Herman van Veen is a champion of children’s rights and patron of the Lot’s Foundation, which promotes children’s rights across the globe.

How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?

Triodos Bank contributes towards a society with quality of life. The Herman van Veen Arts Centre is doing the same in many different ways; through the cultural activities staged there, but also through the centre’s contribution to the conservation and development of nature’s values.

The centre is also breathing new life into the old mansion on the estate. The centre, the bank and the Nationaal Restauratiefonds together make it possible to preserve this national monument of significant cultural and historical value.

Arts and culture – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

A substantial part of the building that houses the cinema was used for storage, office space and various light workshop uses but yielded (next to) zero income for the charity. We needed to find an alternative use for this difficult space that would not only secure the long-term future of the Curzon, but would also help to enhance Clevedon’s rather depleted town centre by offering a greater community experience than the single screen cinema alone.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The opportunity arose to introduce a substantial food and drink offer at the Curzon via a capital redevelopment, with a named high profile provider. This created a strategic opportunity to undertake joint marketing of the combined leisure/night out experience in an entirely new way, providing an evening out that offered the opportunity to mix great films and arts entertainment with superb food in a unique venue (‘Teatro Lounge’). The town is now able to boast a venue that not only offers its community a cinema and cafe, but communal spaces for all ages to meet, network, hold workshops, exhibitions, music events and talks.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

With the support of Triodos Bank we are now looking at a secure future. Since the opening of Teatro Lounge, we have a new found freedom to innovate and develop programme ideas and there is not constant pressure to increase ticket prices, which is much appreciated locally.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

We are fortunate to be able to survive as a single-screen, independent cinema in these times. Many other old cinemas have been bought out by bigger companies and don’t have the freedom to programme films or community events as they would like. The Curzon remains as a rare example of the cinema still offering the primary leisure option for the people of the town, as it was in the 1920s.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The Curzon is well-loved and the people of Clevedon are proud of its unique heritage and they are delighted to see the business doing well now. As well as getting stopped in the street to be congratulated for the improvement to the cinema, we are getting terrific reviews.

In addition to our regular film programme, we offer outreach screenings in residential homes; we work with the local sixth form to run an annual film competition for under-18s in North Somerset; we offer guided tours of the cinema; we run special silent film events; the Christie Organ Experience; computer coding workshops; and also animation and craft workshops for children.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

We believe that Triodos Bank really does understand the value of culture to a community. Although this value seems intangible, it is demonstrated to us every time a customer thanks our staff and volunteers for a great night out.

Education

Education – Case study (photo)

Vier Winden is a Dutch-language community primary school in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek. With pupils coming from all over the world, the school embraces its multicultural nature and draws richness from it.

A young and energetic team of teachers and managers works with and for some 200 pre-schoolers and primary school pupils to offer quality customised education.

The school doors are open to parents and the community, and its windows offer a broad view inside. For the school basis its operations on dialogue: with pupils, parents, the community and its teachers.

Triodos Bank financed the renovation, which included a new build.

Interview with Karlien Tiebout, director of education.

What challenge was the source of inspiration for your project?

Our school is located in the old part of Molenbeek, a municipality in Brussels that has always had a large influx of migrants. Children here are underprivileged and grow up in a disadvantaged environment. In recent years, the area has received quite a bit of negative media coverage. On the other hand, we're seeing a new influx of more advantaged families and we're trying to reflect that diversity in our school.

Our society requires that we address diversity and draw our richness from that. If we can teach our children to handle that diversity they will have a major advantage for the rest of their lives.

What makes your approach so innovative?

We explicitly involve parents and the community in the school's activities, which is one of our strengths.

Our school doors are literally open for our parents, because we are all (school and parents) working towards the same goal: allowing the children to grow and give them the best possible opportunities. The dialogue on this is of paramount importance and extremely enriching, as each of the parties only sees part of who the children really are. Where school and parents share their experience, it's easier to complete the puzzle. We do this by means of open class sessions, cooking lessons, a music group. This way, we create a bond between children, parents and school. It also helps to break down barriers, making it much easier to ask for help or to find solutions.

What impact has your business/organisation had on the sector you work in?

The diversity of our school and the open collaboration with parents and the community is refreshing and offers opportunities. The school has so much talent and positivity and it's nice to have that acknowledged. The school is creating connectivity here in Molenbeek, which is exactly what our society needs. We want to pass on that inspiration.

What impact has your business or organisation had on the community?

Our school is connected with the community. As part of the new build, for instance, we were able to realise a gymnasium. This allowed us to collaborate with a great partner, Circus Zonder Handen, a social and inclusive circus school. They use the gymnasium after school hours and during holidays. That makes it also more accessible for our children.

What was the impact of Triodos Bank on the company or organisation?

Triodos Bank financed the renovation of the school. With the new build, we explicitly demonstrate that we are an open school, a school that shows itself to the community. This has helped convince a number of people to opt for our school. This way, the building has had an impact on the diversity within our school. Moreover, the fact that we have attractive classrooms offers both teachers and pupils enormous added value.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Working together with Triodos Bank is in line with the type of school we are. Incidentally, the new build is almost net zero carbon and we are reviewing how we can further improve the energy performance of our school.

Our main goal as a school is to offer as many opportunities as possible for all our children and that we look at what every individual child needs and offer them the best possible solution. Every individual's right to develop, that is also one of the starting points of Triodos Bank.

As a team, we really believe in our children. There's a lot of talent among them and that motivates us to commit ourselves on a day-to-day basis.

Education – Case study (photo)

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.

Education – Case study (photo)

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.

Social

Community projects and social housing

Community projects and social housing – Case study (photo)

What were the reasons for / challenge of the project?

Our apartment building is home to 30 tenants in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain. Gentrification created a divide right through our building – older tenants in untouched flats were living side by side with new tenants in freshly modernised ones. We had little contact with one another; our lives were too different.

But then we found out that our building was to be sold and turned into an investment property. The fear that we could all lose our homes released a sense of solidarity among us. Apartments in our area are seen less and less as homes for people, and more as investments, where tenants, who cannot keep up with escalating prices for living space, are just a hindrance. This results in leases being terminated for entire apartment complexes. Buildings are refurbished as luxury appartments and let to new tenants. People living on low-incomes are driven away. And impoverished pensioners are forced to compete with freelance artists, welfare recipients and single parents for the last remaining space that they can still afford.

We didn't want to be played off against each other, and so decided to take the step to self-administration. We managed to convince our landlord not to sell the building to an investor. Instead– with the help of the Edith Maryon Foundation and Triodos Bank - we bought it ourselves.

Now we live autonomously in our apartment building, within the Mietshäuser Syndikat alliance (apartment building syndicate). We are our own landlord. We use the land on the basis of heritable building rights and are gradually paying our loan back to Triodos Bank using the rental income we pay.

How are you addressing this challenge in your project?

We have found a model that allows all existing tenants to continue living in their homes, whilst also enabling them to have a say in the procedures and changes that will affect the building in the future. These include, for example, precedence given to low-income applicants when flats become available; a disadvantaged group in Berlin's current rental market.

We consider the project to be a successful response to speculation on residential space. We turned our worries about our homes and an anonymous neighbourhood into a community where people have started to talk to each other.

People without extensive financial means can now have a say in how and where they live. We remain an apartment building, but one in which the tenants are in charge. We are both tenants and landlord. We have an interest in a stable financing concept. And we reject the idea that living space should be used to maximize profits. We believe the space should be as useful as possible and offer a high quality of life to all its tenants.

What role does Triodos Bank play for you?

If you embark on a project like ours, you quickly find yourself visiting a lot of banks for loan offers. We were often met with baffled looks from staff who did not want to lend us money.

It is usually relatively easy for investors to get loans due to their equity and the different types of collateral they can offer. The picture is very different for a mixed group of tenants with little income.

So we are very pleased that Triodos Bank Germany looked at our financing plan objectively, developed it with us and ultimately made us a loan. It enabled us to acquire the building via our association in collaboration with Mietshäuser Syndikat and the Edith Maryon Foundation, and transfer it to self-management by the tenants.

It was surreal for us to suddenly be handling the millions of euros needed to buy the property. None of us had ever experienced - or expected to experience - anything like that in our lives. So the support from Triodos Bank and its critical view of the finances were a great help.

What role does the project play in your sector?

We now advise many other apartment building communities in Berlin about how to buy their building and make sure their homes remain affordable in alliance with Mietshäuser Syndikat (or other structures, such as associations).

In this way, we can pass on our knowledge and experience during the purchase process and organising ourselves as tenants. We hope that our initiative can be a kind of role model for others and that more tenants move into self-administration and fight for their housing rights.

What social role does your project play?

Housing should not be a commodity; that's something all the tenants in our building agree on. It sounds a little trite, but simply means that access to affordable housing is a fundamental social right, just like human health or education.

If political power through projects such as our self-managed apartment building can be strengthened, perhaps restrictions could be placed on the exploitation of the property market. Public pressure “from below” from tenants, applying a different logic and different social understanding of how we want to dwell and exist together in urban areas could have a profoundly positive impact.

To what extent do you think that Triodos Bank shares your vision?

We felt supported and knowledgeable thanks to Triodos Bank and its honest commitment to our daring venture. It would be amazing if Triodos Bank decided to support more of this type of solidarity-based project to de-privatise real estate and remove apartment buildings from the speculative market, while guaranteeing housing. Mietshäuser Syndikat and the Edith Maryon Foundation would be ideal partners, if they do.

Community projects and social housing – Case study (photo)

What was the challenge for this project?

Making sustainable fashion visible and available to a broad public is, in short, the mission of entrepreneur Cécile Scheele, initiator of Goodbrandz. Goodbrandz was founded in 2011 and is a buyer and distributer of fashion produced in an environmentally-friendly way and under good labour conditions.

The company deliberately chooses not to sell the products in its own outlets. Instead sustainable trousers, suits, blouses and bags can now be found in some 400 regular fashion outlets all over The Netherlands, which gives Goodbrandz access to a broad public.

How is the approach of the project innovative?

Goodbrandz shows that sustainable fashion is a good and affordable alternative to ‘ordinary’ clothing. The prices of the labels affiliated with it are comparable to those of other fashion labels. If you buy an ordinary pair of jeans, you not only pay for the production costs of the item, but especially also for the label. This latter cost is far lower with Goodbrandz labels. So the clothes are sold at a competitive price while using sustainable production methods.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?

Even in the fashion world, you have to spend money to make money. As a buyer and distributor of clothing, Goodbrandz buys fashion from sustainable producers. The collection has to be put together. And its stocks have to be stored temporarily to make sure it can provide an uninterrupted supply of clothes to the shops. All of which costs money. Only when the shopkeeper actually buys the goods does Goodbrandz get paid. Triodos Bank provides capital which the company uses to bridge the period between buying from the factories and selling to the shops.

What impact does the project have on the sector?

Each year, Goodbrandz organises the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week, scheduled in 2017 from 6 to 15 October. Then the designers of sustainable fashion showcase their latest creations. The various activities and fashion shows during that week inspire the fashion sector to embrace positive change.

The company wants to show the public that there is a genuine alternative to regular fashion, which is key. Research by Goodbrandz shows that 68% of Dutch women would like to opt for sustainable fashion, but only 11% knows where to buy it.

What impact does the project have on society?

The fashion industry pollutes; for example, the sector uses a lot of chemicals. On top of that, the production of a vital raw material, such as cotton, requires a lot of water. Plus, the working conditions in studios and clothing factories in countries like India and Bangladesh are often very poor. There are regular instances of exploitation, child labour and long working days of up to 16 hours. Pay is often low and work unsafe.

The negative impact on the environment and people underlines the importance of sustainable fashion produced under honest and fair conditions.

How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?

When it comes to sustainability, the fashion sector lags behind the agricultural and food sector, for instance. The offer in organic and Fairtrade food has increased enormously in the last years. The same is not yet true for sustainable clothing.

Triodos Bank believes it is important to work together with an innovative business like Goodbrandz, which puts sustainable clothing firmly on the map. Goodbrandz is a pioneer in the fashion sector and an inspiration for positive change.

Community projects and social housing – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for this project?

Fundació Deixalles’s inspiration was born of the desire to contribute to a fairer, more sustainable society, by helping people in a situation of, or at risk of, social exclusion in the Balearic Islands to enter the labour market. The innovative thinkers behind the foundation felt that this could be achieved whilst improving the treatment and management of waste on the islands at the same time.

The organisation’s story began in 1986, in a former dairy warehouse on the outskirts of Palma de Mallorca. Its early steps were the result of the initiative of the Social Action delegation of the Mallorca Diocese and the Small and Medium-Sized Business Federation of Mallorca (PIMEM). The foundation was launched in 1990 in a fully-modified warehouse. Immediately the first positive results of the collection and treatment of waste and, above all, of the social inclusion and incorporation into the labour market of people with difficulties, could be seen. From then on, more specific lines of work were defined. They focussed on carpentry and electrician training so larger waste items could be reused. Educational activities on environmental and social topics also began to be developed in schools, for teachers, in social action groups and for the authorities.

Little by little the organisation has evolved. It now includes new activities including collaborating on European projects, inclusion companies, solidarity economics, alternative financial instruments and ethical banking. Currently Fundació Deixalles is the leading organisation supporting underprivileged groups in the Balearics through inclusion in the labour market, cooperation, recycling, responsible consumption and training.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Fundació Deixalles’ main innovation is the training and social and labour inclusion programmes it has developed that treat over 2,000 tonnes of waste a year. As a result they prevent the emission of more than 5,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide whilst simultaneously generating job opportunities and future prospects for hundreds of people.

Innovation varies from used clothing customisation workshops to the restoration of furniture and the repair of electrical appliances. It even includes the methodology used in these processes. “With the entire waste recovery and treatment process, the goal is to improve, recover or consolidate the social skills each user needs to be included in wider society”, says Francesca Martí, director of Fundació Deixalles. “We use an active, participative methodology, fostering the daily involvement of all the people and organisations we work with as a network: the social services centres, the connection with other institutions (such as drug addiction centres), the social department of Fundació Deixalles via its technical team and the user - the person ultimately responsible for their own process of inclusion into the labour market”, explains Martí.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Because of its high level of dependency on the public authorities, like the vast majority of the organisations committed to social issues, and due to a delay receiving payments from them, Fundació Deixalles was in dire need of money it could use to meet its day-to-day needs. Currently 19% of the organisation’s income comes from subsidies.

For this reason the foundation turned to Triodos Bank shortly after it inaugurated its branch in Palma de Mallorca, and asked for an advance on the subsidies and covenant arrangements owed to it. Since then, the relationship between Fundació Deixalles and Triodos Bank has grown stronger thanks to their shared values and mutual understanding.

In addition to providing banking products and services, Triodos Bank recognises the innovative nature of this initiative and the value of its social and environmental impact, as a result of which Fundació Deixalles was selected as one of the six finalists for Triodos Bank Spain’s 3rd Triodos Business Award in 2016. This popular award with customers and non-customers alike carries a 10,000 Euro prize. It highlights the contribution of the companies and projects the bank finances thanks to the money entrusted to it by its savers. . In January of 2015 the bank organised a trip to Fundació Deixalles for customers from Mallorca, so that they could see the positive impact of their savings in person.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

Thirty years of experience and positive results demonstrate that the Fundació Deixalles is a leader in the social and environmental sector of the Balearic Islands.

Currently the foundation manages all of the collection of separated waste for recycling on the island of Mallorca and parts of Ibiza. Its work has been recognised by numerous prizes, such as the ONCE Illes Balears 2015 Solidarity Prize, the Consell de Mallorca Solidarity Prize, the Ramon Llull Prize for business initiative, awarded by the Government of the Balearic Islands, and the National Friends of the Earth Prize for its environmental activity.

What impact has your business had on the community?

Today, more than 220 people – nearly half of them from groups in a situation, or at risk, of social exclusion – make up the workforce of the Fundació Deixalles. Almost 300 people take part in its training and inclusion programmes every year; over 1,000 people have been through its job orientation office; more than 5,100 schoolchildren have directly taken part in its activities, and over 42,000 indirectly. The foundation has approximately 30 volunteers and 140 people who perform work that benefits the community.

In terms of its environmental impact over the past year Fundació Deixalles has managed 784 tonnes of used clothes, over 900 tonnes of furniture and large waste items, 24 tonnes of paper, 10 tonnes of glass, 900 tonnes of packaging and more than 600 kg of used oil. “We collect more or less 2,000 tonnes of waste, of which around 80% can be reused”, says the director of Fundació Deixalles. “We collect anything people no longer want: clothes, books, furniture, electrical appliances, and always with the idea that they can be re-used”. All this saved over 5,000 tonnes of CO2 that were not emitted into the atmosphere. The organisation has 215 clothes bins and has set up five shops where customers can buy the recovered items as well as fair trade items.

The project has gradually extended to other areas such as the promotion of fair trade or environmental cleaning products , as well as the environmental education mentioned above.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank supports the integration into society and the labour market of people at risk of exclusion: immigrants, the long-term unemployed, single women with families, disadvantaged young people, drug addicts, victims of gender violence, ethnic minorities and ex-convicts, among others.

With regard to nature conservation, for Triodos Bank it is fundamental to understand that safeguarding the Earth is a shared responsibility. Together, we can all contribute to the sustainable management of resources. This implies the treatment of waste, promoting the repair, reuse and recycling of all of the objects and materials that may have use in a second life.

Fundació Deixalles has managed to successfully combine social and environmental considerations. It can offer a brighter future for people in difficulties and, at the same time, minimise the impact of waste on the environment.

Community projects and social housing – Case study (photo)

Simon Conway, Company Secretary of Thera Trust.

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Thera supports adults with a learning disability and finding property suitable for those in need of adapted accommodation is becoming more and more difficult. Such accommodation is essential if the people we support are to be able to lead fulfilling and independent lives in their local community. While Thera has been being asked to support more people, we were often unable to take forward their support until they had found somewhere suitable to live. This inspired us to seek funding to purchase and adapt property – “an ordinary house on an ordinary street” – for people who otherwise would have nowhere suitable to live.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Thera’s housing charity, Forward Housing SW, has a specialist team who work with individuals, their families and carers and wider circles of support to identify a suitable property and adapt it specifically to the needs of an individual. The property is then leased to a housing association to enable the individual to take up an assured tenancy and benefit from the security of accommodation that that provides, while the individual then benefits from the high quality day to day support provided by one of Thera’s care and support companies.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your activities?

Triodos Bank helped Thera to raise £2 million of investment through a capital raising charity bond. Other than helping to provide a house for some of the people we support – who are some of the most vulnerable in society - Triodos Bank has opened up contact between Thera Trust and a host of new investors, who are beginning to develop an interest in the charity and the way in which we work. Triodos Bank has also helped shape our internal thought processes, helping us consider a broader range of financial options and opening the doors to different funding routes of different levels of risk and complexity.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

We are proud to provide employment opportunities for people with a learning disability in director and other leadership roles across the Group. We believe that we are the only large provider of support to adults with a learning disability in the country that has paid executive directors with a learning disability on our company boards. At present, eight directors in these roles demonstrate the leadership abilities of people with a learning disability which is at the forefront of the organisation’s vision.

What impact has your business had on the community?

We believe that people with a learning disability can be leaders in society. We seek to lead by example. Having governance roles throughout the organisation held by the people with a learning disability and a range of ways in which the people we support are involved in the overall direction and management of Thera is clear demonstration of this. We seek also to support people to develop their friendships and networks in their local community and to reduce their reliance on paid formal support. At the same time we aim to build the capacity of those same communities to welcome people with a learning disability, who historically were hidden away from society, showing them that they are capable of achieving great things with the right support and encouraging the greater inclusion and awareness of the people that we support.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

It is important for us to work with organisations wherever we can which have an ethical focus. We were really pleased Triodos Bank was keen to work with Thera, and to involve people we support in a way which was intrinsic to the whole process. The opinions and comments of the people we support help shape what we do and how we work. Triodos Bank wanted to hear from them and were sympathetic to their needs and what they wanted. For us, it’s fantastic to work with a financial institution that is not only invested in the sustainability of our projects, but who share our passion for providing the best possible service which best meets the needs of the people we support.

Health care

Health care – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Yoni was established in The Netherlands in 2014 and produces sanitary pads and tampons made from organic cotton. In 2011, Mariah Mansvelt Beck, co-founder of Yoni together with Wendelien Hebly, was diagnosed with early-stage ovarian cancer. Her doctor advised using tampons or pads made from organic cotton to minimise vaginal irritation. When Mansvelt Beck followed this advice, she discovered that organic cotton sanitary products were difficult to get hold of. They were only sold at a few organic shops.

An even more important discovery was that the ingredients of conventional tampons are not listed on their packaging. This truly shocked Mansvelt Beck and Hebly: the exact ingredients are shown on almost all consumer products, but not on these very intimate products. They discovered that most tampons and pads are made from synthetic materials like rayon and plastics, and sometimes also contain perfume. Women may be sensitive to these substances, which can lead to irritation.

How is the approach of the project innovative?

Yoni believes women have the right to know what the products they buy are made from. The company contributes to this by listing the ingredients on their packaging, and by breaking the taboo around menstruation.

Menstruating is a sign of health and not something to be secretive about. So Yoni pays a lot of attention to communication and the design of their packaging. This is partly inspired by cosmetics and toiletries. These products come in attractive packaging, and Yoni believes this is also possible for tampons and sanitary pads.

Yoni’s approach is catching on. In 2016, the company won first place in the Dutch SMEs Innovation Top 100. This was mainly thanks to their innovative communications and the wide availability of their products: not only from their own webshop, but also from the popular pharmacy chains in The Netherlands.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?

Yoni was started with capital from several investors and a crowd funding drive. The company has had a relationship with Triodos Bank for a year.

Thanks to a Triodos Bank loan, Yoni can serve a bigger market in multiple countries. Their products are now available in several countries, including Germany, the UK and the Benelux. But the company wants to expand, and that’s why finance from Triodos Bank is so important.

What impact does the project have on the sector?

Yoni wants to raise awareness among women. So the company pays a lot of attention to telling the story of the ingredients in their personal care products. Yoni believes that personal care products are products that women should give thought to. By ‘simply’ listing the ingredients on their packaging, Yoni wants to inspire conventional manufacturers to be transparent too. Before Mansvelt Beck and Hebly set up Yoni, they called the conventional brands and asked them about the ingredients in their products. It was sometimes very difficult to get answers. The situation has changed since then, and several websites of big brands now give some information about ingredients.

Yoni is part of wider movement. In recent years, consumers have been asking questions, including to the European Commission, about the lack of transparency about the ingredients used. These questions point to a growing awareness among consumers.

What impact does the project have on society?

Menstruation is still not a normal topic of conversation, even though the word ‘taboo’ comes from a Polynesian word that literally translates to ‘menstruating’. A study has shown that 19% of Dutch girls know nothing about menstruating before they have their first period. It is not discussed with them. Yoni believes this is a real problem. If it suddenly happens to you and you know nothing about it, menstruating can be a traumatic experience.

Yoni wants to normalise discussing the topic of menstruation. One of the ways they do this is by not using euphemisms. Yoni uses the words ‘vagina’ and ‘menstruation’ on their packaging, for example.

How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?

Mariah Mansvelt Beck and Wendelien Hebly are entrepreneurs who want to put their vision into the world in the form of a commercially successful business, just as Triodos Bank does.

At Yoni they critically review their production and operational processes and try to design them as sustainably as possible. They also believe that a core element of running a sustainable business is having a sound business model and turning a profit. Because that is the only way Yoni will be able to make a strong contribution to positive change in the long term.

Health care – Case study (photo)

What was the challenge for this project?

Panningen, a town in the South of The Netherlands, is home to the Ringoven, a former brickworks. The factory closed in 1989, contributing to a general decline in the town’s quality of life in the following years. Increasingly more social services disappeared from the town. But the listed brickworks was renovated and redeveloped and has been a buzzing meeting place since 2014.

The Ringoven offers space to different social organisations. For instance, there’s an agency that organises work for people with learning difficulties. Day-care and activities are provided for older people with dementia, and there is after-school childcare. A social business, Rendiz, also provides hospitality services and rents out venues.

How is the approach of the project innovative?

The different social and commercial organisations based there jointly carry out and support the Ringoven’s goals. They turn the building into the heartbeat of the town and its surroundings. The initiators of the redevelopment have succeeded in connecting all these organisations with one another. And they have done it in a commercially successful way: the Ringoven – as part of Rendiz – combines hospitality with letting property to social initiatives, and offers day-care activities, all of which generates income. The project is a classic example of innovative social entrepreneurship.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?

Triodos Bank financed the internal refurbishment of the building. But its involvement goes further. Triodos Bank is a key partner of Rendiz, the initiator of the redevelopment. The bank thinks with it about the funding potential of similar Rendiz projects in other parts of the province.

What impact does the project have on the sector?

The great strength of the Ringoven is the housing of organisations from different sectors, such as healthcare, education and hospitality. The project shows that this integrated approach can be successful. A listed building like the Ringoven is expensive to use. Refurbishment into a multifunctional social centre, too, involved a lot of costs. But a monument like this can be profitable if its costs are borne by several parties.

What impact does the project have on society?

The area around Panningen is confronted by different issues, from an ageing and declining population to the decline and disappearance of community services.

The region is not unique in that respect: there are several communities in The Netherlands that face similar problems. But the redevelopment of the Ringoven is a powerful response to them. It contributes to the vitality of the community and social cohesion in the town. The building also serves as a hub and inspiration for other developments. Since the reopening of the Ringoven, different organisations are taking root not only in, but also around, the building. A primary school has now also been established adjacent to the former brickworks. Panningen is alive again.

How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?

Triodos Bank contributes to a community’s quality of life. It is committed to increasing individual development opportunities, a caring society, and to strengthening the ecology and environment.

It is logical then that the bank is involved in the Ringoven. After all, the project offers development opportunities to people living some distance to the labour market, education for children, and also contributes to the social cohesion in the town. The hospitality service uses regional and Fairtrade products. And finally, it is a beautiful building – a national monument – conserved for future generations in a revitalised town.

Health care – Case study (photo)

Which challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Centrum Ganspoel’s mission is to supervise people with visual and multiple disabilities in a place which is most suitable for them.

The central campus of Ganspoel is beautifully situated amongst fields, but it is also very remote. We increasingly came to the conclusion that for a group of young people the combination of attending school and staying on the big central campus did not really fit with their capabilities. This group needed to take part in social life, just like young people without a disability: being able to practice sports in a local sports club, go to the bakery on their own, go out for a drink; in short, to take part in everyday life.

That is why we felt it appropriate to relocate this group of young people to the centre of the town Tervuren. This created an opportunity to live in the town centre, within walking distance of leisure facilities and in a street adjacent to the shopping street and church square.

What was so innovative about the way this problem was addressed?

The innovative aspect of this project is in the approach to the target group. Inclusive housing projects for adults have been around for several years. But not for young people. Children from different provinces attend school within Centrum Ganspoel, which means accommodation is usually also required. To deliver the best tailored assistance the project required a tailored infrastructure and a bespoke location.

What was the impact of the company or organisation on the sector in which it operates?

The Welfare sector for people with a disability is currently going through fundamental changes with personal finance being the main focus of attention. At the moment this only applies to adults, but this will be extended to include young people at a later stage. The project is already completely aligned with these changes and was cited as an example by the Belgian Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, Vandeurzen, in a recent speech.

What was the impact of the company or organisation on the community?

The town council has supported our project from the start and has cooperated with our team. As well as an active volunteer policy judo instructors from the local club have received information about doing sports with people with visual disabilities. Local businesses offer internships for the youngsters. Local residents and supporters were also invited to the opening of the new housing. The young people involved are now no longer referred to as “the youth from De Pit” but they are actually called by their name, and as members of the association.

When the council was planning mobility works, they consulted with our staff in order to create new footpaths with tactile markings to guide blind people. When installing new traffic lights, they took people with a (visual) disability into account.

The arrival of this group of young people has had an impact on the policy of the council. They have definitely benefited from it, but so have all the other residents and visitors to the town, with or without a disability.

What was the impact of Triodos Bank on the company or organisation?

Triodos Bank trusted us to deliver on the financial part of the project. That meant we could focus completely on the content and added value for our clients.

We are currently starting with a new project, this time on the central campus of Centrum Ganspoel. We are delighted to be able to work with Triodos Bank for a second time. In addition to the social benefits, we would like to make sure the current project is sustainable from a broader perspective, for example with regards to the techniques and materials used in construction.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank supports the aim of the project: achieving maximum inclusion for people with disabilities. I believe we have succeeded very well. Perhaps total inclusion is still a bit premature, but that is because this is not yet a well-known story in broader society. But the young people we work with are definitely fully integrated in the local community.

Health care – Case study (photo)

Sabine L. Distler, Manager of St. Elisabeth

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

We knew from the outset that we wanted to make St. Elisabeth a place which offered the highest quality living and housing facilities for elderly people. It soon became clear that this would require extensive renovation work, particularly given regional regulations designed to improve housing conditions. However our innovative residential concept and our holistic philosophy goes far beyond that.

In concrete terms, this means that we had to address not only legal requirements, such as those on physical accessibility, but also meet our own expectations, which were inspired the latest research on gerontology (the study of the social, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging) and housing. That certainly was – and still is – a challenge. But a good one.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The lives of the residents at St. Elisabeth in Nuremberg should be determined by them as much as possible. For us, it goes without saying that this requires a strong social environment, close contact with other people and help with day-to-day tasks.

So, our first question was how can we create living space that allows elderly individuals to determine how they live? We had to eliminate all barriers, and not just in a physical sense, such as removing obstacles in washroom areas using ergonomically designed basins and walk-in showers with grab rails.

In addition, we removed all visual barriers. We did this using a special colour and light system that helps with orientation, particularly for people with dementia, promoting their sense of well-being and making them feel secure. We also chose a wall covering that both looks great and has a special structure that enables visually-impaired people to find their way outside using recognisable features as a guide.

We have also focussed at all times on our employee’s situation, since our holistic approach includes them too. We want them to feel comfortable as well and be able to provide unhindered support and care.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Having a bank that is so interested in the content of what we do is new to us. In addition to working together at a business level, there is a personal level too. Triodos Bank believes in our concept and that makes us feel good. And of course, it was Triodos Bank that made it possible for us to realise our project at this scale and with this level of detail which is so important.

This included the attention we pay to using environmentally friendly construction materials and paints, as well as finance. We also have a sustainable approach – ultimately we hope to set a good example in the care sector and improve it for the long term. This means we share the same values as Triodos Bank and puts us on an equal footing as partners because we want to make something happen together.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

It is important to us that our projects generates a lot of attention. Both the media and the public see our holistic concept as a flagship project and have shown a great deal of interest in it. It has created a sensation and that is a good thing – for us and for the issue of quality and dignified housing for elderly people that we want to promote.

We have already become a model for other facilities and that is exactly the point – to change something. By combining functionality and design, for example, we are charting a course that’s genuinely unique for a residential care facility.

What impact has your business had on the community?

Our project is helping to change the view of residential care homes at the renovation, remodelling and construction stage. In other words, deliberately creating environments to make sure that residents can live on their own terms, making their own decisions, for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the reality is often quite different. Facilities are modernised and renovated without anyone thinking about how the individual components interact and how these ‘improvements’ can actually help people.

We also want to provide momentum in the social sector. We see great development potential in the next few years and decades because of the growing demand in the sector. Health care will create new interdisciplinary approaches – to architecture, technology and new media. Hopefully this will result in greater recognition of a deserving social sector.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank wants to see positive change in society. This positive change is exactly what we want too. It is like two interlocking cogwheels. We live our vision of a better world by helping to provide a better quality of life and self-determination for people, and preserve their dignity in the process. We are building for a positive future just as Triodos Bank is.

We can achieve our objective of sustainability together with Triodos Bank. A sustainability that enables us, as much as we can, to address the social needs of the future.

Health care – Case study (photo)

Benoît Ceysens, Director La Ferme Nos Pilifs

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Sheltered workshops, providing employment for people with disabilities, must learn to work with both the traditional and fast-changing economy if they want to survive and flourish.

At Ferme Nos Pilifs, we aim to develop a more inclusive economic model, one that reorganizes energy, jobs and products so that everyone can find a job. To achieve that, we must build bridges between the social and the traditional economy. We need to reinvent the way we work.

It is also important for Ferme Nos Pilifs that our farm and social enterprise are not merely regarded as a sheltered workshop; people shouldn’t come to us out of compassion. Ferme Nos Pilifs is a valuable company that provides useful, high-quality work.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Ferme Nos Pilifs makes openness and diversification its trademark. It chooses to develop small-scale, local and craft activities close to the needs of the people who work at the farm. It focuses on strong, local relationships.

Visitors will find a small café, a children’s farm, a tree nursery, an ecological garden company, a grocery-come-bakery, including homemade organic bread and pastries and a handling and mailing service for the printing and distribution of mail.

Currently, the farm employs 170 people, including 140 with minor disabilities. Each activity is adjusted to the capacities of the employee and each job must have a social dimension, be financially viable and fit within the project’s environmental-friendly framework.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Just like any company, Ferme Nos Pilifs needs reliable financial partners. Our collaboration with Triodos Bank goes beyond the traditional client-supplier relationship. Triodos Bank has become a true partner.

For projects that require a substantial investment, the approach to the financing makes all the difference.. Triodos Bank’s answers always are recommendations more than commercial proposals. For a businessman it is great added value to be able to trust your bank in this way.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

The inclusive business model that Ferme Nos Pilifs has developed is unique in its sector, such as the far-reaching diversification and connection with the district and the town.

As well as a local focus we are active in our federation (FEBRAP, the Brussels federation of sheltered workplaces) and continue to work to preserve employment positions for the most vulnerable workers.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The establishment of the Ferme Nos Pilifs in Belgium’s Neder-Over-Heembeek has had a positive effect on the district. By involving the local community in its activities, Ferme Nos Pilifs has helped to provide the district with a positive image.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Providing meaningful, dignified employment for people with disabilities at Ferme Nos Pilifs aligns with the core principles of the social economy in which Triodos Bank has already acted as a financier for 20 years in Belgium.

Inclusive finance

Inclusive finance – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the source of inspiration for your project?

The taxi financing market is quite untouched by formal financial institutions. The Peruvian vehicle loan market is concentrated among a few players and focused on financing the purchase of new cars by wealthier clients. Additionally, the majority of the current taxi fleet consists of older, polluting cars. 30% of the taxis in Lima are over 15 years old, and need to be replaced according to municipal regulations that have been in place since 2016.

A fledgling formal vehicle loan market focusing on drivers living on low incomes and environmentally-friendly taxis in Peru is only served by Acceso Crediticio.

What innovation did you use to address this problem?

Acceso Crediticio, a Peruvian-based financial services firm established in 2011, with extensive experience in vehicle lending, plays a strong role in financial inclusion. 70% of its clients do not having accounts at other financial institutions. One in five are opening an account for the first time when they become customers.

The majority of the institution’s clients are independent, low-income taxi drivers that otherwise would have limited options to own their vehicles. Acceso has a strong focus on providing CNG-based (compressed natural gas) taxi car loans. CNG-based vehicles are a cleaner and more efficient alternative to fossil fuel-powered taxis. As such, Acceso directly contributes to fighting climate change by reducing the number of polluting cars in Peru.

What impact did Triodos Bank have on your company?

The loans provided by Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund have helped Acceso to increase its outreach. Loans are in local currency which means it doesn’t need to carry currency risk. This is also true for Acceso Crediticio’s clients as its loans are denominated in local currency. Thanks to this borrowing Acceso has been able to expand its outreach to 14,850 clients, without having to create a large and potentially expensive branch network to operate.

What impact has your company had on your business sector?

Acceso Crediticio focuses on financing micro and SME (MSME) clients in the automotive sector, with a clear emphasis on financial inclusion. As a pioneer of this kind of finance in Peru, it is innovating in the market providing an example for its peers to follow.

What has been the local impact of your company on the community?

Acceso Crediticio is the leading provider of CNG-based (compressed natural gas) taxi car loans in Peru. It is this emphasis on compressed natural gas-based (CNG) vehicles that makes the company so unique. Almost 70% of its loan portfolio is allocated to MSMEs looking to purchase CNG-based vehicles or to convert their vehicles from regular gasoline-based to CNG-based. Overall, the Company generates a high social and environmental impact as a result. It both helps to provide a livelihood for drivers and contributes to a healthier, cleaner environment for the communities where it operates.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Acceso Crediticio has a unique business model. This provides a high impact opportunity for Triodos Investment Management’s funds, in terms of financial inclusion and environmental impact, in a segment that is currently under served by local and international investors.

Inclusive finance – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for the project?

Indonesia has one of the highest level of financial exclusion in Asia. Approximately 50% of the population does not have access to financial services, such as a savings account or small loans. This has a big impact on the quality of people’s lives.

As a financial institution Bina Artha wants to address this problem. And it wants to do more than provide loans for entrepreneurial activities. An example is its sanitation loan. 40% of the population of 100 million people in Indonesia still has no access to proper sanitation because they simply cannot afford it. As a result, many use makeshift facilities where they can find them.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Bina Artha has recently started to offer a sanitation loan for an in-house toilet. Besides simply providing funding, they also help borrowers to set up a business in order to be able to pay back the loan and ultimately to further improve their long term living conditions.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on the business?

The loans provided by Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund helps Bina Artha to increase its outreach. Loans are in local currency which means that Bina Artha doesn’t need to carry currency risk. Thanks to these loans Bina Artha has been able to expand its outreach to 226,000 clients via a network of 227 branches. 99% of its clients are women. While 50% of the households it serves, live below the poverty line of USD 2 per day.

The organisation’s areas of operations are spread over Java, with a focus on rural areas. It plans to expand to other parts of Indonesia as well.

What impact has your business had on the sector it works in?

Bina Artha fulfils a key role within the financial sector in Indonesia through its mission to provide specialised financial services to Indonesia’s economically active, low income and largely female population in a fair, transparent, efficient and sustainable manner.

What impact has the business had on the community?

Bina Artha operates mainly in rural areas where about 70% of its clients live. These areas are home to a huge unmet demand for basic financial services and products. The institution is well rooted in the communities it serves and hires all its staff locally. New products are developed with a keen sense of the client’s needs, as the recently launched sanitation loan shows.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank has worked together with Bina Artha since 2013, through its inclusive finance funds. Triodos Bank shares the same vision as Bina Artha; to increase financial inclusion in the country and to reach out to those traditionally excluded.

Both organisations recognise the importance of developing a best practice model Microfinance Institution that contributes to the development of an inclusive financial sector. Because organisations like this one are an important driver for long term sustainable development.

Inclusive finance – Case study (photo)

Hannes Manndorff, Director Dawn Myanmar

What challenge was the inspiration for the project?

When Accion began looking to invest in Myanmar some 2½ years ago, less than 20% of the population had access to formal financial services and there were very few microfinance providers operating in the country. While Myanmar had embarked on a political and economic reform process, it was still the third poorest country in Asia. The vast un-tapped microfinance market, coupled with low capacity, poor infrastructure and a very uncertain regulatory environment, provided both an opportunity as well as a challenge that we were committed to tackle.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

Accion teamed up with Triodos Investment Management and FMO, two institutions with whom we have had a long and fruitful history of collaboration, to bid for the only MFI in the country that was open to an acquisition: Save the Children’s Dawn Microfinance. After winning the competitive bid, the consortium successfully transferred the operation, including all staff and assets, from Save the Children to a new for profit entity, with basically no disruption for clients and staff. This acquisition and transformation provided a huge advantage vis-à-vis starting an operation from scratch, which would have been the only alternative for providing high quality financial services to unbanked masses in Myanmar. The institutional transformation of what was a program of Save the Children into an independent, for profit microfinance company, licensed by the Central Bank was truly ground breaking in Myanmar at the time.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on the business?

Triodos Investment Management, FMO and Accion came together to take over a fledgling MFI in Myanmar at a time when there was still a lot of political, economic and regulatory uncertainty. The unity and commitment of all three investors to turn DAWN into a leading best practice MFI convinced Save the Children to sell the entity to the consortium. Both Triodos and FMO brought a lot of experience and credibility to the deal, which positively influenced the regulators to provide the necessary approvals and licences for the transaction. Triodos has also brought a lot of value through its involvement at the governance level of DAWN, with Femke Bos, fund manager of Triodos Microfinance Fund, as a highly engaged member of the board of directors and Chair of the Audit Committee. In addition, DAWN has already benefited from the broader relationships Triodos has in the region, for example through the facilitation of a field visit some leading MFIs in Cambodia, which helped the organisation to gain exposure to best practices in governance, management, and operations.

What impact has your business had on the sector it works in?

Since the consortium took over Dawn in March 2015, the outreach has doubled in terms of number of active clients served to 54,000. The consortium investors are also striving to influence the development of the sector both through becoming a leading example for high-quality microfinance in Myanmar and by actively engaging with the regulators and the broader financial inclusion community.

What impact has the business had on the community?

Because of the investment made by Triodos Investment Management, FMO and Accion, DAWN has been able to rapidly expand its services to new geographies and serve thousands of new formerly unbanked clients. Since the take-over, clients have also benefited from streamlined products, shorter turn-around times and lower fees. The investors and DAWN are committed to further strengthening and expanding the product offering, improve the customer experience and reach at least 200,000 active clients within the next four years.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Since the early days of the partnership, Triodos Investment Management, FMO and Accion have shared the same vision for Myanmar and DAWN, i.e. to use DAWN as a vehicle to foster financial inclusion in the country, develop a best practice model MFI, contribute to the development of the financial sector and look for both a financial and social return with long-term view.