The continuation of COVID-19 was again an unexpected challenge in 2021, which impacted energy use and GHG emissions globally. As the emission factors that are being used are based on 2020 or earlier, the analysis of effects of COVID-19 is at this stage not fully reflected in the emission factors for 2021. The COVID-19 impact on emissions is likely to be temporary. Therefore, no manual adjustments have been made in addition to the annual update of the emission factors.
The GHG emissions that can be attributed to Triodos Bank's loans and direct fund investments in 2021 are presented in two graphs and a more detailed table in this chapter.
The first graph shows our portfolio’s emissions in ktonne CO2e. The second graph shows the intensity of Triodos Bank’s GHG emissions per billion euro lent and invested. It provides stakeholders with an indication of the impact of our finance on generated, sequestered and avoided emissions that could be compared across financial institutions.
Climate impact of our loans & investments 2021
Climate impact in
emission intensity 2021
In 2021, approximately 379 ktonne CO2e in emissions were generated by loans and funds' investments in this climate impact measurement (2020: 372 ktonne CO2e). This amount has been netted with 3 ktonne CO2e sequestered emissions from the organic farming sector. The increase in generated emissions compared to last year is mainly due to increased investment volumes in the Impact Equities and Bonds funds (IEB funds). This was largely offset by lower emissions for (Dutch) residential mortgages, whereby the use of energy labels resulted in lower emissions, which demonstrates the sustainability of our current mortgage portfolio. Other changes compared to last year are, on the one hand, increased lending and investment volumes, and on the other hand application of the new emission factors for European building related assets (the PCAF database).
Triodos Bank also finances forestry and nature development projects. This resulted in the sequestration of approximately 15 ktonne CO2e (2020: 14 ktonne CO2e), equal to at least 320,000 mature trees and enough to compensate the emissions from the farming sector.
The renewable energy and energy saving projects that we finance avoided over 851 ktonne of CO2e emissions as compared to fossil-fuel power generation (2020: 933 ktonne CO2e). This is equal to the avoidance of emissions of over 5.8 billion kilometres travelled by car.
The number of power-generating projects we finance in Europe and in emerging markets increased by 10 to 494 in 2021. Also, the total electricity production of our financed projects increased, but was markedly tempered by less favourable weather conditions for the solar and hydropower projects and for the wind projects, as 2021 turned out to be a fairly bad wind year in Europe. Despite the significant increase in green power generation and energy savings from our sustainable energy portfolio, the total attributed avoided emissions decreased, which can be explained by lower shares in the financed projects (attribution factors), and to a small part by updated emission factors that take into account the increased supply of renewable energy on the market.
Overall, the results clearly indicate that financing a sustainable economy for many years has resulted in substantial avoided emissions relative to our generated and sequestered emissions.
The next table provides the GHG emission data of our finance per sector, in both absolute and relative (emission intensity) terms and shows the data quality score for each item.
We will continue to report the climate impact of our own operations and of our loans and funds’ investments in the future. We hope to further improve the quality of this data, the methodology that underpins it and, therefore, the accuracy and relevance of our reporting.
Climate impact of our loans and funds’ investments
Total outstanding (million EUR)
Data quality score
Environmental - other
Care for the elderly
Healthcare - other
Inclusive finance and development
Social other and municipalities
Arts and culture
Culture - other
Corporate equities and bonds
Nature development & Forestry