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.
We define impact finance 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 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 impact. It could help our clients to identify new ways to improve their own impact and share good practice within our community, for example.
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.
As we highlighted in last year’s report we have developed an impact management tool which we will use across Triodos Bank’s business and, increasingly, Triodos Investment Management, during 2019. The tool, the Triodos Impact Prism, allows us to understand, monitor and 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 we finance and includes a Sustainable Development Goal report.
Together this should enable us to manage impact more consciously in Triodos Bank and communicate – at a project, sector and Group level – more powerfully about our impact in the 2019 annual report.