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 also finance and co-finance projects that increase the use of renewable resources, reduce the demand for energy and promote energy efficiency.
By the end of 2021, Triodos Bank and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 586 projects (2020: 561) in the energy sector. These included:
494 sustainable power-generating projects related to wind (196), solar (267), hydro (29), or a combination (2)
52 sustainable power projects in a construction phase
40 energy-efficiency projects including 19 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 0.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions were avoided (2020: 0.9 million tonnes). Notable decrease compared to last year is due to less favourable weather conditions in 2021, to a lower share in projects financed (attribution factor), and to a small extend to updated emission factors that incorporate the increased supply of renewable energy on the market.
The total capacity of the power-generating projects was 6,000 MW (2020: 5,100 MW), producing the equivalent of annual electricity needs of 6.0 million households worldwide or almost 700,000 based on an attribution approach (2020: 700,000).
Organic farming and nature development
Our relationship with the soil and the earth requires a systemic perspective. A world view that sees 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 2021 could produce the equivalent of approximately 34 million meals in 2021, enough food to provide a sustainable diet for approximately 31,000 people (2020: 30,000). Together they financed approximately 33,000 hectares of organic farmland across Europe. This equates to farmland the size of a football pitch for every 13 customers, each one producing enough for 610 meals per year.
We also financed approximately 33,000 hectares of nature and conservation land (2020: 30,000 hectares), representing around 440m2 of nature and conservation land per customer. This land is important for the sequestration or absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
In 2021, over 38,000 smallholder farmers (2020: 35,000) in nine emerging market countries worldwide were paid directly and fairly upon delivery of their harvests as a result of the trade finance that Hivos-Triodos Fund provide to farmers’ cooperatives and agribusiness. Global logistical crisis causing delayed shipments due to the lack of containers, and exceptionally high coffee prices in the merchant market resulted in additional liquidity needs for part of our customers in 2021.
The farmers had 49,000 hectares of certified organic farmland under cultivation (2020: 56,000) in 2021. An additional approximately 5,800 (2020: 8,400) hectares was in conversion. The harvests brought 11 different fair-trade and organic products to international markets, including coffee, cocoa, rice, fruit juices and superfoods.
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 2021, Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed directly via retail banking and via sustainable property approximately 21,700 homes and apartments (2020: 17,600), an increase of 23%.
We also financed about 510 commercial properties (2020: 480) comprising approximately 950,000 m2 for office and other commercial space (2020: 830,000m2) and over 1 million m2 of buildings and brownfield sites (2020: 981,000 m2).