Our vision on measuring impact reflects a focus on delivering our mission. We aim to find qualitative evidence of impact and back that up with numbers when relevant. Our more qualitative impact can be found in the case studies online (www.annual-report-triodos.com). This section summarises the positive impact in numbers that our loans and investments generate within our five key transition themes (food, resources, energy, society and well-being).
Impact information is mostly collected through the interaction of investment and relationship managers and their clients and projects.
Our main guidelines for impact by transition theme are:
Our calculations only measure projects with a direct relationship to our finance or investment activities unless otherwise stated.
For the impact indicators, we use the contribution approach, unless otherwise stated. This means that we include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project except when this represents the results unfairly.
If it is not possible to record 100% of the data required, we use conservative estimates.
Because most impact numbers are based on manually collected data from our lending customers and investees, and despite strict definitions, this data can be subject to different interpretations. That is why we round off all impact data conservatively in this report.
The impact data included in the Executive Board report is in scope of the review procedures performed by the independent external auditor. Subjecting our impact performance to the audit process (limited assurance) is a logical step for an integrated business with sustainability at the core of its financial activity.
For more detailed information on the measurements per theme, see www.triodos.com/impact-themes.
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 2022 could produce the equivalent of approximately 29.5 million meals in 2022, enough food to provide a sustainable diet for approximately 27,000 people (2021: 31,100). Together they financed approximately 32,600 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 543 meals per year.
In 2022, approximately 42,800 smallholder farmers (2021: 38,900) 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 provides to farmers’ cooperatives and agribusiness. The increase in the number of farmers is due to new investees and existing cooperatives expanding their farmer base.
The farmers had 57,100 hectares of certified organic farmland under cultivation in 2022 (2021: 49,600). An additional approximately 6,000 (2021: 5,800) hectares was in conversion. The farmers harvests brought 11 different fair-trade and organic products to international markets, including coffee, cocoa, rice, fruit juices and superfoods.
Sustainable property and residential 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 2022, Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed directly via retail banking and via sustainable property approximately 24,800 homes and apartments (2021: 21,700), an increase of 14% mainly due to growth in the residential mortgage portfolio. Of the properties in the residential mortgage portfolio, about 56% have an energy label of A or higher, 27% have an energy label between B and G, and the energy label of 17% has not yet been reported.
We also financed about 470 commercial property buildings (2021: 480, buildings only) comprising approximately 871,000 m2 for office and other commercial space (2021: 957,000m2).
In 2022, we financed approximately 33,900 hectares of nature and conservation land and sustainable forestry (2021: 33,400 hectares), representing around 450m2 of land per customer. This land is important for the sequestration or absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
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 2022, Triodos Bank and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 611 projects (2021: 586) in the energy sector. These included:
522 sustainable power-generating projects related to wind (199), solar (287), hydro (35), or a combination (1);
43 sustainable power projects in a construction phase;
46 energy-efficiency projects including 24 heat and cold storage projects, 6 battery storage projects, 1 greenhouse gas-neutral biomass project and a diverse range of energy-efficiency initiatives.
Through our share in these renewable energy projects, over 1.0 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions were avoided (2021: 0.8 million tonnes).
The total capacity of the power-generating projects was 9,100 MW (2021: 6,000 MW), producing the equivalent of annual electricity needs of 7.4 million households worldwide or approximately 865,000 based on an attribution approach (2021: 698,000).
Helping to achieve social inclusion is a strategic theme for Triodos Bank. We finance the development of disadvantaged individuals through businesses that address specific social objectives; for example, in not-for-profit employment programmes, youth help centres, integration programmes and other community projects. We also lend to organisations that provide affordable housing for the people most in need.
In 2022, Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management financed 238 social housing projects, which directly and indirectly provide accommodation for approximately 22,000 people (2021: 59,700). This figure is lower than last year because in 2022 we only included our financed share for the larger projects that we co-finance.
We believe that social inclusion improves with financial inclusion. We fund values-based organisations working for inclusive finance across the world, because they provide access to fair and transparent financial services for people and small businesses. Bringing people into the financial system spurs social and economic development and contributes to achieving multiple SDGs.
At year-end 2022, Triodos Investment Management’s financial inclusion funds financed 113 financial service providers (2021: 111) in 47 countries. These values-based institutions vary from small NGOs working in underdeveloped markets to digital lending platforms and fully fledged banks that offer access to a range of fair and transparent financial services for people and small businesses.
Together, these financial service providers reached approximately 19.9 million individuals in 2022, saving for unexpected expenses and their future (2021: 18.6 million).
Some 20.3 million borrowers were reached who used the funding to start or expand their business, generate income and better manage their daily lives (2021: 17.8 million). Two-thirds of them live in rural areas.
The increased number of savers and borrowers is coming from new investments and recovery and reactivation from COVID-19 and is related to highly qualified professionals and business from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus who have shifted their finance to financial service providers in neighbouring countries in which we invest.
Of the loan clients, 80% are female. Women in developing countries and emerging economies are often in a disadvantaged position. Giving women the freedom to manage their income and to support their families empowers their position and has been shown to have a greater economic impact overall.
Triodos Bank believes good physical and mental health and well-being are fundamental to a better quality of life. That’s why we finance medical centres that offer complementary health services and care for the elderly and terminally ill people.
As a result of its finance across Europe around 45,600 individuals (2021: 45,900) were residents at 652 elderly care homes financed by Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management in 2022, representing the equivalent of 16 days of care per Triodos Bank customer.
Arts and culture
Arts and culture play an important role in the personal development of individuals and in social cohesion. They reveal new perspectives and inspire and connect people.
Based on its long-standing commitment to art and culture, Triodos Bank has a leading position in the sector. It develops innovative finance instruments such as guarantee funds. To do this we work together with governments, industry associations and consultants.
In 2022, Triodos Bank financed 1,513 relations active in the cultural sector (2021: 1,450), from individual artists to large cultural institutions. Approximately 36% of the portfolio relates to cultural centres. Based on historic data we have estimated that our finance in 2022 helped make it possible for approximately 25.8 million visitors (2021: 9.9 million) to enjoy events at cultural institutions such as cinemas, theatres and museums. The number equates to approximately 34 cultural experiences enabled per Triodos Bank customer. The 2021 figure was considerably lower due to the lockdowns during the pandemic.
Funding creative, cultural and social initiatives
Triodos Bank and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have signed several guarantee agreements for the social and creative and cultural sector. Since the start of the guarantee facility for the creative and cultural sector in 2021 we have been able to finance EUR 88 million to 260 initiatives in the creative and cultural sectors. Through the Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement provided under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), Triodos Bank has until the end of 2022 been able to finance EUR 130 million to 500 social enterprises in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain, exceeding our original EUR 65 million target. At the end of 2022 Triodos Bank signed a new agreement with the EIF that enables us to have new lending with a volume of EUR 67 million available to finance social entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain.
Triodos Bank believes that education brings huge benefits to the individual in terms of personal development and well-being, and to society in terms of economic development and social cohesion. The organisations we finance in this sector include schools, training institutions and conference centres.
In 2022, Triodos Bank financed over EUR 309 million in education initiatives from 506 loan agreements (2021: 519). Based on historic data we have estimated that approximately 738,000 individuals benefitted from the work of these education initiatives in 2022 (2021: 786,000). This means that each Triodos Bank customer has made it possible for approximately one person to receive education.
Triodos Investment Management wants to make impact the new standard in investing. For us, money is not a means to an end but a powerful way of making a difference. This is fully embedded in the activities and approach of our Impact Equities and Bond funds that are all classified as SFDR Article 9 funds.
The Impact Equities and Bond (IEB) funds invest for positive change in listed companies from across the globe. The objective of these funds is to maximise positive impact by investing exclusively in companies that contribute to one or more of our transition themes, which are anchored in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the funds' investments by Triodos Investment Management and TRMC, 57% relates to IEB. The contribution of the Impact Equities and Bonds portfolio to the five transition themes in 2022 is as follows:
Food: 7%, Resources: 15%, Energy: 31%, Society: 26% and Wellbeing: 21%.
In 2022, the footprint benchmark1 results for the Triodos' Impact Equities and Bonds funds were on average:
GHG emissions: 52% lower than the benchmark
Water use: 82% lower than the benchmark
Landfill waste production: 2% higher than the benchmark
These footprint and benchmark figures, received from external data providers, give an indication of the funds' sustainability performance as an outcome of the funds' strict impact selection and exclusion criteria.
The carbon and water footprints of the IEB funds showed lower environmental impacts of the portfolio companies’ activities compared to those of the benchmark.
The higher than benchmark landfill waste footprint is mainly related to the investment in a number of paper (packaging) companies promoting the transition from plastic to paper packaging. Since landfill waste is defined as all waste eligible to be disposed of via landfills, it includes paper and plastic packaging, which in many instances can be recycled so they do not end up in landfill. We consciously accept that a handful of investments with positive overall impact results in the funds have a larger waste footprint than the reference index, as we firmly believe these companies deliver a positive impact on problems like plastics pollution in our oceans.
For more details on these footprints, we refer to the impact reports of our IEB funds online: www.triodos-im.com.
In our AsOneToZero ambition we have also set targets on reducing the emission intensity of our IEB funds. In this, Triodos Bank commits that 82% of its listed equities and corporate bonds portfolio will have set science-based targets by 2035. Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are considered science-based if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement – to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
At the end of 2022, 45% of the IEB total funds' portfolio by net asset value, were aligned with or committed to science-based targets (2021: 51%). The decline in percentage compared to last year is mainly due to lower market values in 2022. The data has been retrieved from the science-based targets initiative (SBTi)’s public database of aligned and committed companies.