We know that impact finance can make a positive difference in people’s lives. It can contribute to progress on key issues that are relevant for society. And, in the right context, we have seen how finance for visionary entrepreneurs with innovative business models, can be transformational.
While we consider impact to be a change in the positive or negative outcome for people or the planet, we define impact finance positively and specifically as directing money so that it benefits people and the environment over the long-term. And we try to deliver as much positive impact as possible by only financing and investing in sustainable enterprises and enterprises transitioning to sustainable approaches. As a consequence of this work Triodos Bank provides both fair financial and non-financial returns to its stakeholders. Over time we want to help enhance our, and our stakeholders’, understanding of impact and its multiple dimensions because that will encourage and support deeper positive change.
Our vision on impact stems from this understanding and reflects our mission. In practice that means we try and find qualitative evidence of the impact first and foremost and back it up with numbers when it’s relevant to do so.
Impact data provides a richer picture for our stakeholders about the work we do. We want to demonstrate Triodos Bank’s grounding in financing the real economy. Verifiable, relevant information helps us to do that. For that reason, every year the business spends considerable time and energy producing impact data that’s reviewed by an independent auditor.
In 2019, we integrated an impact management tool across all of Triodos Bank’s offices in Europe and began this process in Triodos Investment Management. The tool, the Triodos Impact Prism, allows us to understand, monitor and help the business to steer on impact in a more deliberate way. It provides insights into the sustainability value of our projects, provides a mechanism to discuss opportunities to increase the impact of the customers and projects we finance and includes a Sustainable Development Goal report. During the year we expanded the scope of the project to include sector-specific metrics, such as for the energy and climate sector. These metrics, which are derived from a vision paper also published during 2019, will be implemented early in 2020. We intend to report the results of this work next year when the system has been embedded more thoroughly.