A fundamental transition is needed to decarbonise our economy. By lending and investing in solar, wind and hydro energy, Triodos Bank stimulates this transition. We finance and co-finance projects that increase the use of renewable resources and projects that reduce the demand for energy and promote energy efficiency.
By the end of 2020, Triodos Bank and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 561 projects (2019: 504) in the energy sector. This included:
484 sustainable power-generating projects related to wind (201), solar (252), hydro (30), or a combination of wind and hydro (1)
42 sustainable power projects in a construction phase
35 energy-efficiency projects including 23 heat and cold storage projects, 1 greenhouse gas-neutral biomass project and a diverse range of energy-efficiency initiatives.
Through our share in these renewable energy projects, about 0.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions were avoided (2019: 0.9 million tonnes).
The total capacity of the power-generating projects was 5,100MW (2019: 3,900 MW), producing the equivalent of the electricity needs of 4.8 million households worldwide or 0.7 million based on an attribution approach (2019: 0.7 million).
Despite a 30% higher total capacity our share in the avoided emissions and the number of households did not increase. This is due to a change in the emission factors (from International Energy Agency to International Financial Institutions Framework), an update of the number of households conversion factor (World Energy Council) and changes in finance and attribution percentages per project.
Organic farming and nature development
Our relationship with the soil and the Earth requires a systemic perspective. A world view that views agricultural land as the starting point for a limitless process of extraction is unsustainable. Instead, agriculture needs to be seen within the context of a natural system. This system includes nutrients, water, biodiversity, animal welfare and social conditions.
The organically managed land on the farms which Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed in 2020 could produce the equivalent of 33 million meals in 2020, enough food to provide a sustainable diet for approximately 30,000 people (2019: 28,000). Together they financed approximately 32,000 hectares of organic farmland across Europe. This equates to farmland the size of a football pitch for every 14 customers, each one producing enough for 610 meals per year.
We also financed 30,000 hectares of nature and conservation land (2019: 31,000 hectares), representing around 400m2 of nature and conservation land per customer. This land is important for the sequestration or absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
In 2020, over 35,000 smallholder farmers (2019: 98,000) in eight emerging market countries worldwide were paid directly and fairly upon delivery of their harvests as a result of the trade finance that Triodos Investment Management funds provide to farmers’ cooperatives and agribusiness. The lower number of smallholder farmers in 2020 is related to one company that did not receive trade finance during 2020.
The farmers’ harvests brought 10 different fair-trade and organic products to international markets, including cocoa, coffee, rice and quinoa. In 2020, the funds' clients had 56,000 hectares of certified organic farmland under cultivation (2019: 64,000). An additional 8,000 (2019: 6,000) hectares was in conversion – a significant indicator of future growth as it takes time before conventional farmland is ready to be certified organic.
Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages
As well as offering green mortgages that incentivise households to reduce their carbon footprint, Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management finance new building developments and renovation projects for properties to reach high sustainability standards. In 2020, Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed directly via retail banking and via sustainable property approximately 17,600 homes and apartments (2019: 13,700), an increase of 28%. We also financed about 480 commercial properties (2019: 480) comprising approximately 830,000 m2 for office and other commercial space (2019: 921,000m2) and about 981,000 m2 of buildings and brown-field sites (2019: 1,022,000 m2).