Green Banking - The Triodos Bank

greenpiggyA green (ethical) bank is a bank concerned with the (social and) environmental impacts of its investments and loans. Ethical banks are regulated by the same authorities as traditional banks and have to abide by the same rules. While there are differences between ethical banks, they do share a common set of principles, the most prominent being transparency and social and/or environmental aim of the projects they finance. Two banks in the Netherlands have recently increased their service portfolio for clients from savings to all kinds of products (and will increase their services further in the future with green credit cards, green mortgages, green insurances, etc.) and show enormous growth.

The first driver for green banks is social responsibility: The ASN Bank was founded by a Dutch trade union in 1960 to give their members opportunity to save in a socially responsible way. Triodos Bank started in 1980 to ‘realise a positive change with the customer’s money’. However long term financial perspectives have grown more important: many customers believe that profitability and share value of the sustainable operating companies and projects that green banks invest in the long run are better than those of non-sustainable companies. Finally distrust in traditional (large) banks after the banking crisis in 2008, in combination with the introduction of current accounts (besides savings accounts and green/social investment funds) by the green banks at the same time, was a driver for growth.

ASN Bank now has more than half a million customers and a capital of €7.5b that is invested in governments, companies and projects, dealing in a responsible manner with people and animals, nature and environment.

The Triodos Bank is now present in Belgium, Germany, Spain and the UK and has a capital of €4.9b. Triodos was Financial Times Sustainable Bank of the year in 2009.

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