Impact statistics methodology

Measuring the impact of what we do for people, the environment and culture is important because we want our stakeholders to have a transparent picture of what Triodos Bank’s role in the wider world really means. But it’s not always easy to quantify in a meaningful way. Most measures of non-financial impact have both pros and cons – the quantity of people attending a culture performance is not the only, or necessarily the best, way to measure the positive benefit of a cultural performance, for instance. But it does provide an indication of the performance’s reach, and therefore the significance of the finance that helped make it happen.

We recognise that these figures can be improved and are working to do just that. In the meantime, we want you to have a clear picture of how we have come to the impact measures you will read in this report.

The following explains the approach we have taken per impact measure.

Energy and climate

The renewable energy projects we finance generated enough green energy to meet the needs of the equivalent of 1,500,000 European households, avoiding 2,023,143 tonnes of CO2 emissions (impact graph)

The renewable energy projects
we finance generated enough
green energy to meet the
needs of the equivalent of
1,500,000 European households,
avoiding 2,023,143 tonnes of
CO2 emissions

The calculation of CO2 emission reduction, is produced using conversion rates (kWh gram CO2) from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, based on the 2007 (International Panel for Climate Change) IPCC Assessment report. The conversion rates indicate the grams of CO2 avoided in the mix of all power plants in a country where we are active per kWh green energy produced in 2006 (the most recent date available to us). This mix also contains installed renewable energy capacity which is not what another green kWh would wish to save. So in reality the CO2 reduction is slightly higher. We make a calculation based on the average energy use per kWh per household to extrapolate to the figure opposite. We recognise that other methodologies are available in some countries like the UK (such as the British Wind Energy Association, BWEA, in the UK).

Arts and culture

During 2011 Triodos Bank finance helped make it possible for 6.8 million visitors to enjoy theatres or museums across Europe. (impact graph)

During 2011 Triodos Bank
finance helped make it possible
for 6.8 million visitors to enjoy
theatres or museums across
Europe.

The arts and culture figure we use is based on the number of people who attended events, or visited shows, in 2011, provided by institutions Triodos Bank finances in each of its branches. If this figure was not available we calculated the average number of people who attended an event or show at a particular project during the year, multiplied by the number of events it put on.

We measured at least 80% of the ‘Arts and Culture’ portfolio in each country, and extrapolated the remaining proportion based on this figure. If we were unable to measure 80% of a country's loan portfolio we have only included a figure for the proportion of the loan book that we could measure. Because of the complexity of accurately describing how many individuals they reach we have not included individual artists, musicians or their equivalent that Triodos Bank finances in this figure.

We recognise that an individual project may not have received all of its finance from Triodos Bank, and so it is not wholly responsible for its ability to put on these performances. But we believe that, typically, Triodos Bank’s financing of an arts and culture project plays a central role in its overall finances; so we can legitimately use this measure in this context.

Social/Microfinance

Our specialised microfinance funds provide finance to 96 microfinance institutions in 43 countries, serving 7.9 million borrowing clients. (impact graph)

Our specialised microfinance
funds provide finance to 96
microfinance institutions
in 43 countries, serving
7.9 million borrowing clients.

The evidence of the impact of our microfinance activity is drawn from Triodos Investment Management’s Emerging Markets Sustainability Management System. This information is based on detailed quarterly reports by the microfinance institutions in the portfolio, and annual reviews.

Care for the Elderly

During 2010 10,331 individuals benefited from care for the elderly projects at 100 care homes financed by Triodos Bank. (impact graph)

During 2011 10,331 individuals
benefited from care for the
elderly projects at 100 care
homes financed by
Triodos Bank.

We have calculated the number of elderly people served by projects financed by Triodos Bank as at 31 December 2011, across our European network. At least 80% of the care for the elderly loan portfolio in a branch is measured, and the remaining proportion extrapolated based on this figure. If we were unable to measure 80% of a country's loan portfolio we have only included a figure for the proportion of the loan book that we could measure.

Food and farming

The organically managed land on the farms which Triodos Bank finances could produce the equivalent of just over 18 million meals in 2011, or enough food to provide a sustainable diet for 16,500 people during the year. (impact graph)

The organically managed land
on the farms which Triodos Bank
finances could produce the
equivalent of just over 18 million
meals in 2011, or enough food
to provide a sustainable diet for
16,500 people during the year.

Triodos Bank’s food and farming impact measures help show how our finance for food and farming businesses relates to people in terms of the number of people that could be sustainably fed from the organically managed land on the organic farms in the five countries in Europe that Triodos Bank operates in.

Triodos Bank’s finance may only comprise a small part of the total farm business. We have estimated the number of people that could be supplied with a sustainable diet from the whole farm, since this best reflects the farmers’ potential impact; it assumes that Triodos Bank finance is an important part of an organic enterprise’s total borrowing.

The Ecological Footprint method, developed by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), has been used to estimate the total number of people that could be fed from the organic land farmed as a result of Triodos Bank finance. This is a theoretical approach that shows the link between the diets that people eat and the farmland that provides their food.

The Ecological Footprint (EF) is a measure of the global hectares (gHa) associated with any resource consuming economic activity. WWF have estimated the EF for many countries as part of the WWF Living Planet project. They estimate that for the whole of the EU an average of 1.17gHa of cropland and 0.19gHa of grazing land are required to feed each person for one year from the farmed land, in Europe and beyond. They provide EF estimates for each of the five countries where Triodos Bank finances organic farming. These data have been used to estimate the number of people that could be fed three meals each day from the whole organically farmed area of the farms financed by Triodos Bank in Europe.

Triodos Bank provides finance for organic farmers who organically manage 21,300 Hectares of farmland in the five countries where it operates; Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The total number of people that could be fed (16,500) has been calculated from the country-specific EF and expressed as the total number of meals (18 million) based on the assumption that individuals eat three meals each day.

The WWF EF includes all the hectares of land needed to supply the current unsustainable diet. As such it is a ‘worst case scenario’ for the land area that is needed to feed each person. If sustainable diets and organic production methods were used, we would have a very different diet and different levels of production of different types of food, but we could feed far more people from each hectare of land. Thus the EF provides a low estimate of the number of people that could be sustainably fed, in that it assumes current patterns of food consumption (high levels of meat and livestock products) that are associated with a high demand for land. For example it includes the production of feed for livestock kept in non-organic production systems. This estimate is theoretical and is designed to enable the reader to visualise the link between farmed land and the food we eat. It does not reflect the real production of crops and livestock on the Triodos Bank financed farms.