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What we achieved

From mortgages and commercial loans to local projects: looking back on 2016 we see many achievements, both in financial and social terms. Thanks to the power of our cooperative, we could create value and opportunities for our customers and members. Read the highlights below.

In 2016 we helped companies finance their business.

How OppoSuits is conquering the world

Read the story

And we helped many of our customers into new homes.

Mortgage within a week, for the self-employed as well

Read the story

We invested in food value chains worldwide.

Stop throwing fruit away for good thanks to It´s Fresh!

Read the story

We supported local projects.

Fixing up buildings for the future of Nuenen

Read the story

And we made sure that everyone can keep on banking, no matter how old they are.

Banking together as long as possible

Read the story

Financial results

Capital

14%

Common equity tier 1 ratio

25%

Total capital ratio

Profitability

5.2%

ROIC

70.9%

Cost/income ratio (Regulatory levies included)
 

€2 bln

Net profit

€4 bln

Underlying operating profit before tax

Funding & liquidity

€189 bln

Wholesale funding

€103 bln

HQLA

Numbers have not been reviewed by our accountant.

Capital

14%

Common equity tier 1 ratio

Capital

25%

Total capital ratio

Profitability

5.2%

ROIC

Profitability

70.9%

Cost/income ratio (Regulatory levies included)

Profitability

€2 bln

Net profit

Profitability

€4 bln

Underlying operating profit before tax

Funding & liquidity

€189 bln

Wholesale funding

Funding & liquidity

€103 bln

HQLA

Numbers have not been reviewed by our accountant.
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What we have done

Every day we work hard to be a customer-oriented, committed and rock-solid bank. In 2016 we once again made major investments in our products and services, in a sustainable society and in our employees. We also worked to achieve a strong and flexible balance sheet.

See our efforts for our:

  • Customer service
  • Employees
  • Engagement
  • Performance
 
Stimulating sustainable agriculture
Agriculture and food have been at the heart of our strategy since 1898. We consider it a core task to help solve the world food problem sustainability. We call that ‘Banking for Food´. Around the world, we support farmers and market gardeners to increase production, more efficiently and more sustainability. We also strengthen food chains through numerous initiatives for sustainable food security, offering stakeholders access to finance, knowledge and networks.
Balancing risks and returns
Risks are inherent to banking — and managing them is our core business. We seek a healthy balance between risk and return by linking the right price with the risk for all activities. We continually train our employees in risk awareness and compliance, and are building a strong, transparent risk culture. The aim is to remain a solid and reliable bank, acting always in the best interest of our clients.
Restoring trust
Following a series of financial crises public confidence in financial institutions has plummeted. Rabobank included. We want to restore people´s trust by unreservedly putting the customer´s interest first in everything we do. And by showing our intense social commitment, in the Netherlands and around the world.
Increasing transparency
We constantly seek to achieve transparency and clarity. This means that we are open about what our clients think of our service provision. That our communication is always understandable and accessible, for instance in our product terms and conditions. And that we honestly show our progress on sustainable development and our financial results. In 2016 we took measures to increase our transparency in all these areas.
Digitalising services
Online and mobile banking offers customers increasing convenience. We are making major investments in further developing innovations like contactless payments, and are continually extending our digital services. Nearby our customers even in the digital world. Customers can contact our customer service for help day-and-night through chat, app or website. And intelligent data analyses help us improve the efficiency and quality of our advice.
Engaging with stakeholders
As a financial services provider Rabobank has a major role in society. And as a cooperative organisation we are very much aware of our social responsibility. Continuous dialogue with our stakeholders helps us to continually refine this role. For instance, on sustainability issues we consult widely with customers, employees, investors and NGOs, searching for opportunities to improve.
Working with clients on sustainability risks and returns
Rabobank encourages and helps customers to develop and realise sustainability ambitions. We bring people together to exchange knowledge and seize opportunities. We reward commercial front-runners in sustainability and encourage private customers to renovate sustainably through ‘Slim Verbouwen´. We also develop sustainable products like the Rabo green mortgage.
Supporting the vitality of communities
Local initiatives are important to strengthen neighbourhoods, villages and regions and make them more sustainable. As a cooperative bank we feel a strong responsibility to stimulate these initiatives — not just financially, but by sharing our knowledge and networks. In 2016 Rabobank contributed EUR 49 million to local and social projects and organisations in the Netherlands. In developing countries our support goes mainly to agricultural organisations and communities.
Promoting a circular economy
The global transition to a circular economy is central to our sustainability ambitions. A circular approach is needed to make the world more liveable for the long-term. It also strengthens the Dutch economy and its competitive position. We support our clients in this economic transition with tools and initiatives. And we are making our own organisation more sustainable: between 2013 and 2020 we want to reduce CO2 emissions per FTE by 10%.
Developing talent and competences
Our employees are the key to Rabobank´s success. Their personal competences, qualities and vitality determine the value we can offer our customers. Which is why Rabobank invests ceaselessly in employees´ personal and professional growth.
Encouraging diversity and equality
Diversity is a great strength. A more diverse staff profile enables us to better understand and serve our customers. In addition to gender diversity, 2016 saw explicit attention devoted to the promotion of cultural diversity, creating employment opportunities for people with an occupational disability, and the acceptance of LGBTI.
Responsible remuneration
Rabobank navigates its own, socially responsible and comparatively moderate course in its remuneration policy. All Rabobank employees receive a salary and a set of employment conditions commensurate with their responsibilities and performance. In addition, we strive to provide an inspiring working environment in which they make the most of themselves and their talents. Moreover, employees are offered unique chances to make a real difference in the world.
Strengthening capital ratios
In order to remain a rock-solid bank we have set targets for our capital ratios. We base these targets on the increasingly stringent requirements which banks must meet. In 2016 we achieved a common equity tier 1 ratio of 14% and a capital ratio of 25%. Extra efforts will be needed to meet future regulation.
Improving performance
Innovations, changing customer wishes, economic shifts, new market players and more stringent regulations. Rabobank is doing business in challenging circumstances. We´re undergoing a far-reaching transition to strengthen our capital position and provide the conditions for future growth. We are on track to achieve our financial and sustainability ambitions. And we are constantly developing our product and service offering. Satisfied customers are our top priority, now and in the future.
A more flexible balance sheet
A more flexible balance sheet helps us strengthen our capital position so that we can keep lending to our customers. New regulations will require us to reduce our balance sheet in the coming years. We prepared for this in 2016 by adjustments to processes and infrastructure. We also reduced the balance sheet by EUR 16.3 billion through measures including the sale of our subsidiary Athlon Car Lease, and various transactions in the mortgage and real estate portfolios.
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What we contributed

As a socially responsible bank we make a substantial contribution to welfare and prosperity in the Netherlands. And drawing on our roots in agriculture we are helping to find solutions to the global food issue. Take a look at our projects, products and services.

Banking for the Netherlands and the rest of the world

Rabobank is a cooperative bank. When our members and customers prosper, we prosper. Which is why we invest in the future of the Netherlands.
But we look beyond the Netherlands as well. Because in 2050 there will be about 2 billion more people in the world. That brings new challenges for food production. Based on our roots as a farmers' bank, we are working on solutions for the global food issue.
View our projects

Some of the projects we supported in the Netherlands in 2016:

Banking for the Netherlands and the rest of the world

Here are the products and services that we were especially proud of in 2016

Funding in one day
Rapid response to loan applications from SME sector.
Commercial customers who apply for a loan online before 12 noon are given an appointment the next day at the latest. The advisor gives an immediate decision on the loan. This service is for SME companies applying for a loan up to € 1 million.
Irish MilkFlex Fund
New fund launched for dairy farmers and dairy processing companies.
Continuing low milk prices meant that dairy farmers' main focus was on keeping their head above water. Ambitious investments to increase production had to take a back seat. The Irish MilkFlex Fund provides flexible loans to dairy farmers so that they can make these new investments after all.
Mortgage within a week
A signed mortgage offer in 7 days.
We work with you to make sure you get a signed mortgage offer in 7 days. A Rabobank mortgage offer guarantees that you can get a mortgage to buy your dream home. Follow 5 steps to get a mortgage within a week.
Rabo SmartPIN
The debit card payment solution for businesses.
Rabo SmartPin is an easy-to-use payment device plus an app. Using the app, entrepreneurs can transform their smartphone or tablet into a mobile POS solution. Customers make a debit card payment on the device and get the payment receipt by e-mail.
Global Farmers
Connecting farmers from all corners of the world.
A community of entrepreneurs in agriculture who help each other and grow stronger - that's the objective of the Global Farmers online platform. A place where farmers and horticulturalists from all over the world meet one another and Rabobank experts.
The HomeCatcher App
Find your dream home on your mobile.
Check out your chances of buying a property. And what your chances are of selling your own home. You can also calculate your maximum mortgage amount.
Rabo Green Mortgage
Sustainable living is worth more than you think.
If you buy a sustainable new-build house with a Green certificate, you're eligible for a Rabo Green Mortgage. And you get a discount on the mortgage interest rate.
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What we have employed

We can look back on a year in which together we achieved a great deal. See the efforts we put in to making 2016 such as success.

Our knowledge and expertise

  • 120

    years
    of banking knowledge
  • 40

    years
    of branch and sector knowledge

Our financial resources

  • 40.5

    billion
    equity
  • 347.7

    billion
    amounts due to customers
  • 188.9

    billion
    wholesale funding

Our human capital

  • 1.9

    million
    members
  • 8.7

    million
    customers
  • 45567

    thousand
    employees

Thanks for a successful 2016!

‘The idea for OppoSuits was born while we were backpacking in Vietnam,´ Jasper starts, ‘where we had a few unique suits made relatively cheaply. Slowly, the idea for a business model started brewing. Together, Guus, Jelle and I thought: with the three of us, this should work.´ The OppoSuits line is now a huge success, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

It all started with orange suits back in 2012. ‘That year we went to all of the Dutch football team´s practice matches leading up to the European Championships,´ Jasper relays. ‘Because there were so many of us, people noticed. We got plenty of media attention, and the spark caught on pretty much all by itself.´

Meeting of a lifetime with Macy´s

The success of the orange suits was followed by Star-Wars suits, Halloween suits and Christmas suits. Now there are around 60 designs available, on sale in various countries. In 2016 America was added to the list, where the suits are how on the racks at Macy´s.

‘Macy´s is the oldest and largest chain of department stores in America,´ says Jelle, the team´s commercial specialist. ‘Once you´ve made it there, you know you can break into the rest of the retail market.´

He continues: ‘We happened to be in New York already for an interview, which we managed to combine with a meeting at Macy´s. After the show we were taken to their head office, and we were still wearing our suits. As we walked through the sales department with the buyer, we were accosted every five metres by people wanting to have their photo taken with us. I can't think of a better way to make an entrance.´

‘Jasper is the creative member our team, and Jelle takes care of the commercial side of things. So yeah, that just leaves someone to fix up the rest.´ - Guus

New finance

After long negotiations, they succeeded in closing a major deal. But they still needed financing, which is where Rabobank account manager Mark Schut came in. ‘We were already Rabobank customers, so we set up a meeting to talk to Mark,´ Guus recounts. ‘Mark is the world champion of asking annoying questions. But they were relevant ones, which got us thinking.´

‘We all put our heads together to figure out how to structure the financing. Ultimately we created a highly original form of hybrid financing to fund our season at Macy´s.´

This innovative form not only ‘suits´ the current growth phase of OppoSuits, but the team´s international plans as well. ‘We had a lot of financing needs: we are growing very fast, both here and abroad,´ Guus explains. ‘Their thorough analysis of our situation both as a business and as businesspeople allowed Rabobank to tailor a solution to meet our needs, both now and moving into the future.´

‘We had outgrown the house we were living in,´ says Remco, an independent roofer and father of two daughters. He is married to Hilda, who is a graphic designer and runs a small home office.

‘Business was going well, so we wanted to move to a house with more space and a bigger office,´ Remco continues. ‘Our plan was actually to sell this house last year, but the very idea made my wife homesick. She´s been living in this street for 33 years – her parents literally live five doors down.´ He goes on: ‘So I thought: just wait a month or two, and she´ll be over it. Because we need more space regardless.´

Dream home

Not long afterwards Hilda did indeed change her mind, as she needed more space to receive customers and employ a staff member. It wasn´t long before their eyes fell on a beautiful property in central Enkhuizen. ‘It was a dream home,´ says Hilda. ‘It granted all our wishes at once, in a nice area for our daughters Lisa and Fenna to grow up in.´

They made an offer that was accepted, and so the only thing left to do was to organise the mortgage. This turned out to be easier said than done, however, and it can be particularly difficult for the self-employed.

Remco elaborates: ‘Everybody turned us down. One of the consultants said that we first needed to pay back a line of continuous credit, which would have meant taking money out of our businesses. Another said that he couldn´t give us a mortgage based on negative business capital. Yet another made a prognosis resulting in a similar rejection. “Find something to rent,” was what they told us.´

‘After the weekend we called Rabobank again, just to check whether it was all really true. Our self-confidence was destroyed.´ - Hilda

Sleepless nights

‘It took an incredibly long time,´ says Remco. ‘Business was going just fine, so we didn´t think getting a mortgage would be so much hassle. It gave me sleepless nights more than once, and took about ten years off my life.´

Meanwhile, the offer on the new house had nearly expired. Then, in the car, they heard the ‘one-week mortgage´ commercial on the radio. ‘The two of us laughed when we heard it,´ Hilda continues. ‘Of course that´ll never happen, we said. We had been trying for months, and were at our wit´s end.´

Hilda and Remco were surprised at Rabobank's fast and smooth response. Hilda explains, ‘One telephone call and we had an appointment. Then the consultant said: “Sure, we can do that, just give us your documentation.” Now that was something we businesspeople like. Action.´

Incredible results

The final meeting followed not long afterwards, when the couple were informed the mortgage had been approved. ‘We had a small celebration when we heard,´ says Hilda. They are now enjoying their new house to the full. ‘No more sleepless nights,´ Remco concludes, ‘but a couple of times I did dream of last-minute problems throwing a spanner in the works. I wasn´t until I had signed the forms at the notary´s office that I dared believe it was true.´

‘Around 45% of all fruit is thrown away.´ But not for much longer, thanks to It´s Fresh! A British technology company that has developed a special filter that keeps fruit and vegetables free of natural ripening gases, resulting in extended quality and freshness.

‘Of course, refrigeration means that we can keep produce fresher for longer,´ explains Simon Lee, co-founder of It´s fresh!. ‘But there is still an incredible amount of wastage in the food supply chain. Refrigerated shipping containers are used to transport fruit from one hemisphere to another, but what happens before and after? Refrigeration can´t solve all the problems.´

Vegetable magnetism

The ripening process is also affected by ethylene, a naturally-occurring gas that alters the texture, flavour and colour of fruit. So It´s Fresh! developed a filter that removes this gas from the atmosphere, allowing fruit and vegetables to stay fresh longer. Simon Lee continues, ‘Our filter absorbs ethylene and traps it away from the produce. It´s a unique process.´

The It´s Fresh! filter consists of a wafer-thin membrane that can easily be applied throughout the food supply chain: from growers and retailers right up to consumers´ own kitchens. Simon tells us more: ‘Our filters stay with the produce for the entire journey, keeping fruit and vegetables fresh and tasty and giving consumers value for money. It´s a win-win situation.´

We are also working on a number of other unique ways to extend quality, reduce waste and add value to the fresh produce supply chain´ – Simon Lee

Domino effect

One-third of the world´s food is currently wasted. Simon thinks this is unacceptable: ‘Just think of all the valuable resources being used to produce that wasted fruit. Around 1.5 litres of water are required to grow a single strawberry, and nearly thirteen litres per tomato! And not forgetting all the labour and fuel necessary to harvest, package and transport these crops. The domino effect of this global wastage is vast.´

He continues: ‘It´s Fresh! makes fresh produce safer, cheaper and improves availability, allowing us to help combat food wastage in a sustainable and ethical way. The fact that almost a billion people on Earth go hungry each day makes you realise how important the issue is.´

Banking for Food

The It´s Fresh! philosophy ties in perfectly with Rabobank´s own vision on food security. Rabobank has not only helped It´s Fresh! with investments, but also by sharing its own expertise. ‘Analysts from Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research granted us access to their data on fresh produce and food-wastage levels,´ Simon explains. ‘Rabobank´s knowledge and reputation in the field of food and agriculture is unmatched.´

He goes on, ‘Rabobank is leading the discussion on the importance of food security. They report on the global food issue, while also highlighting unique technologies that can help contribute to a solution. Technologies like ours. Rabobank has been supporting It´s Fresh! for years, and I am convinced they will continue to do so into the future.´

“We may be a small bank, but the cooperative is just as important to us as commerce.” According to housing agent Inge Walstra from Rabobank Dommelstreek, Nuenen´s ‘conversion homes´ are a good illustration of this principle. “We are working together with young people to build apartments in vacant office buildings. Later on, these same young people will be entitled to a rental discount on the properties.”

Shared Vitality

The story of the conversion homes began in 2015. As part of Rabobank Dommelstreek´s Shared Vitality (‘Samen Vitaal´) programme, the bank joined forces with BeBright research agency to conduct a vitality scan of the region. To gain insight into vitality levels, they conducted extensive desk research, surveyed 10,000 customers, held interviews with local experts and organised dialogue sessions.

The results revealed eight key challenges in the areas of housing, health & welfare, sustainability & liveability and economic vitality. “The basis of Shared Vitality is well-founded research,” Inge explains. “It enables us to make a real impact as a bank and contribute to prosperity and well-being, instead of simply playing it by ear.”

The housing challenges revealed by the study included the realisation of affordable homes for newcomers to the market, and addressing the issue of vacant properties. Inge continues, “We quickly came up with the creative idea of conversion homes for the young people of Nuenen.”

“This is only one of the Shared Vitality projects. Around 25 initiatives have now been developed, a number of which have already been successfully completed.” – Inge Walstra

Seeking connections

Rabobank Dommelstreek asked some of its regular business connections to contribute ideas on the four Shared Vitality themes. Anne-Marie was among them, and has been involved in the project since its inception. “At first I was very sceptical,” she says, “but it piqued my curiosity, so in the end I went along and had a look.”

Rabobank Dommelstreek asked some of its regular business connections to contribute ideas on the four Shared Vitality themes. Anne-Marie was among them, and has been involved in the project since its inception. “At first I was very sceptical,” she says, “but it piqued my curiosity, so in the end I went along and had a look.”

Money where your mouth is

Inge and Anne-Marie together approached the housing association that owned a former office building in the town centre. Anne-Marie tells the story: “We held discussions to exchange ideas, and to see whether the vacant building could be used to help young people in the area. The director was enthusiastic straight away.”

The next step was to look at how the young people could be involved in the project. Anne-Marie explains: “Look, us architects and project developers can think up whatever we like, but I believe it´s always important to involve the future occupants as much as possible. That´s how we arrived at the ‘conversion homes´ idea. 200 hours´ work on your own apartment will get you a huge discount on your rent for two years.”

Working on the future

Converting the office building into apartments of course also required re-zoning. Thankfully the municipality was also on board: “It´s an incredibly attractive idea,” says councillor Martien Jansen. “Nuenen is a lovely area, but living here is not cheap. Young people are important to the future of Nuenen, but it is hard for them to find affordable housing. This project gives them the opportunity to continue living here.”

All of the plans have now been submitted to the municipal offices. The way things look now, the first young renovators will be able to move into their homes at the end of 2017. But that won´t mean the end of Inge´s work: “In November we set up the Cooperative department, and from now on there will be two housing agents working full-time on these types of projects. We now have the chance to make the Rabobank cooperative more future-proof than ever.”

‘We are there whenever our customers need us.´ Seniors´ adviser Jacqueline van der Spoel visits Rabobank customers at home whenever necessary. And it´s no empty promise – to illustrate, Jacqueline takes us to Krimpen aan de Lek to visit Ms Groeneveld-van Staveren.

They first met one another at a senior citizens´ information session. Jacqueline organises regular meetings where she can inform the attendees about fraud, secure banking, donations and inheritance matters. ‘It´s all very interesting,´ says Ms Groeneveld. ‘When I spoke to Jacqueline afterwards she said I could give her a call, so that´s what I did.´

A bridge too far

Ms Groeneveld tells her story: ‘Krimpen aan de Lek used to have a Rabobank branch. But taking my mobility scooter all the way to Krimpen aan den IJssel...´ ‘That really is too far,´ Jacqueline agrees. Ms Groeneveld continues: ‘Well, I'm not that progressive, but I realised there was no way around computers. If you don´t move with the times, you get hopelessly left behind very quickly. That's not what I wanted.´

‘Some senior citizens are perfectly able to take care of money matters themselves,´ Jacqueline responds. ‘They withdraw cash from ATMs, and manage their finances online. But it's certainly not a given for all senior citizens.´

Banking together

Senior citizens who are unable to visit a branch themselves can call on Jacqueline for help, who will come to visit them at home. ‘I help them with their finances. I don´t do things for them, but I do offer practical support, like explaining how to transfer money themselves online. And I tell them about the other support services offered by Rabobank, such as Random Reader Comfort, or the mobile banking workshop that we organise in conjunction with SeniorWeb. Ultimately what we want is for people to be able to continue to manage their own finances.´

Ms Groeneveld adds, ‘I do like trying to figure things out, but sometimes I just get stuck. For example, I need to think about maybe selling my house, because it´s getting too big for me by myself. And you know, the children are busy with their own jobs and families, plus they don´t live next door anymore. I don´t want to saddle them with my problems.´

‘Whenever Jacqueline visits, things happen. We talk about everything, and wherever possible she sets things in motion.´

Jacqueline believes that senior citizens are also particularly at risk of financial fraud. ‘I recently visited an older lady, who turned out to regularly hand over her ATM card to her home help staff, so they could withdraw money for her. Nobody wants to be in that situation, so that´s when I intervene. I told her about Rabo Money Express, which home-delivers cash sums up to a certain amount. Simple and secure.´

Ms Groeneveld considers herself very lucky. Her younger brother helped her take the first steps on the computer, but she still prefers to manage her money herself.‘Technology is still a little scary for some people,´ says Jacqueline. ‘That´s why I explain everything as clearly as possible, twice if necessary. Or even three times, it's not a problem. Because it´s so satisfying when things finally fall into place!´

Hook to plate

‘North Sea fish from Scheveningen deserves to be better known´

Getting people in The Hague region to find and love fish from Scheveningen. That´s the goal of Stichting Noordzeevis uit Scheveningen (the Foundation for North Sea fish from Scheveningen), an initiative of The Hague Rabobank.

‘We eat plenty of tuna, salmon and tilapia in the Netherlands, according to Matthijs den Heijer, owner of Scheveningen-based wholesale fish and shrimp supplier W.G. den Heijer & Zn. ‘But we also catch a lot of flounder, dab, gurnard and whiting in season. They might not be as well-known in the Netherlands, but they taste great and they´re not very expensive.

‘Fish from Scheveningen deserves to be better known in our region and the rest of the country´, believes Jaap Wielaart, chairman of the board of The Hague Rabobank. ‘So we started talking to local businesses and the municipality, which led to the creation of a community in 2015. Together we try to strengthen the whole fish supply chain: from the moment the fish brought on land to the moment you find it on your plate.´

What kind of world are we going to create?

Coert Zachariasse, Director of Delta Development Group

Coert Zachariasse developed Park 20|20, the most sustainable business park in the Netherlands. He is now devoting all his attention to the creation of ‘The Valley´. According to Zachariasse, the Schiphol area offers a unique opportunity to show the world what a circular economy can mean.

In The Valley, everything is functional, attractive and suitable for multiple purposes. The elephant grass helps keep the geese out, but also serves as a raw material for the sustainable production of energy, paint and bioplastics. The buildings will be constructed in a ‘cradle-to-cradle´ manner. Multidisciplinary project teams will be housed in the buildings – or rather ecosystems that trigger activity. In the event that Schiphol, for example, wants circular interiors only. When the economic activities decrease after ten, twenty or thirty years, the modularly constructed buildings can be given a new function or be dismantled. Every component is reusable and represents a residual value that can be optimised by using high-quality materials, rendering demolition costs a thing of the past. This mind-set and approach generate completely new types of business models.

“Circularity is much broader than energy efficiency or the use of residual heat,” says Zachariasse. “You need to think in terms such as material health, water and energy recycling, social fairness, transport, logistics, locality and connection based on today´s requirements. The last in the list is perhaps the greatest challenge. Fortunately, awareness is growing. People are working side by side instead of against each other. We can make the circular economy tangible in The Valley. We will ultimately progress from talking and thinking to doing – and things do not have to be perfect from day one.”

Radio509 Academy

Radio for and by people with a visual impairment

Radio509 Academy has been set up to help blind and visually impaired young people to learn all there is to know about making radio programmes. The national radio station Radio509 is on air 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Young people are trained by Radio509 and can subsequently work for the radio station as volunteers.

There are over 350,000 people in the Netherlands who suffer from a visual impairment. Not being able to see has a huge impact on their daily lives. Radio is an important source of information for this target group. Radio509 was founded to make radio programmes for and by the blind and the visually impaired.

Lean meat, rich taste

Meatless uses seaweed as a meat substitute and flavour enhancer

The best meatballs aren't made using granny's recipe any more. Meatballs added with plant-based ingredients are healthier and even tastier, as Dutch firm Meatless has shown. The company has achieved global success with a meat substitute based on seaweed.

Die-hard meat eaters agree – there's nothing like real meat. When it comes to taste, texture and succulence, meat will come out on top over a meat substitute every time. And yet several tests have proven that some meat products do actually taste better when added with Meatless' vegetable proteins. In a blind taste test, a Meatless meatball scored higher than meatballs made out of pure beef.

"Taste is a complicated matter and can be influenced by emotion," says Jos Hugense, CEO of Meatless. "That's why we always blindfold our test participants."

Fewer machines, more sustainability

AMI invests in sustainability through an Impact Loan

"We want to be at the forefront of every field and that also applies to sustainability," says Arthur de Ruiter, Commercial Director at AMI. So it comes as no surprise that the company is investing in making its machinery fleet more sustainable. AMI opted for an impact loan to finance the project, taking advantage of the favourable conditions.

"2016 has got off to a fantastic start," says Commercial Director Arthur de Ruiter. The firm has been producing aluminium hardware since 1956 and is based in Lomm in the Dutch province of Limburg."We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary. We also became cradle-to-cradle-certified early this year. And as the cherry on top, we were once again crowned Supplier of the Year in June for which companies are judged on their efforts in sustainability and CSR."

Startup Fest Europe

Melting pot of people and ideas

Startup Fest Europe: a top European innovation event. It brought together people with ideas and investors to help make these ideas a reality. The CEOs of Apple, Uber and Adyen were present at the event, which took place from 24 to 28 May at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.

Rabobank is a founding partner of Startup Fest Europe. Rabobank Wholesale contributes to the philosophy behind this event by bringing together corporate organisations and startups. Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and other founding partners opened the CEO event on 24 May, which focused on how corporates can embrace the new dynamics caused by disruptive innovations.

During the last week of May, sessions, workshops, meetings and other events revolving around matchmaking, knowledge sharing and inspiration were held across the Netherlands. The goal was to help innovative startups find the right investors, attract talent and close deals with the business community. Dutch innovation centres will be organising the events around such themes as Water and Food & Agri.

F&A Next

Extra attention to food and agri

Innovation plays a key role in Rabobank´s strategy. As part of this, Rabobank was a co-sponsor of the F&A Next event during Startup Fest Europe. This event, which took place on 26 May in Wageningen, was the first European platform for investors, startups and scale-ups in the Food & Agri sector.

Draijer explains, “The Netherlands is an international frontrunner in the field of Food & Agri, but promising startups in this sector have been insufficiently visible to investors until now. F&A Next aims to increase their visibility and, consequently, stimulate investments in promising entrepreneurs and innovations.”

The Source Shakers: European platform for food waste solutions

Reducing waste and increasing value

The Source Shakers help companies in the food supply chain in reducing food waste by a minimum of 25 percent and in using their residual waste streams in such a way as to create at least 20 percent more value. The Source Shakers is a collaborative platform for businesses, students, startups and scientists to collectively increase the impact of existing and new solutions to fight food waste.

Alain Cracau of Rabobank´s Sustainable Business Development division: "We believe that a concerted effort in terms of sharing knowledge, experience and facilities is the best way to promote high-impact, sustainable solutions. Food waste is an important issue for us and we believe all raw materials are valuable. That's why we are a co-initiator of The Source Shakers, a platform for food waste solutions. The platform involves an integration of knowledge, experience, facilities, energy and inspiration in order to speed up the process of creating large-scale solutions to a large group of companies."

Investing in Uganda´s next generation of farmers

The Rabo Foundation Employee Fund supports an agricultural educational programme for young people in Kibinge, Uganda through the Children of Uganda foundation.

Since 2008, agricultural communities in sixteen villages in the Kibinge area have been working together to improve their economic situation. The people have joined together to make plans for structural improvements in the local agricultural sector.

Pre-chilled boxes to battle food waste and malnutrition

Gomango wants to trigger widespread use of refrigerated transport in India

India is among the world's top producers of fruit, vegetables and dairy – yet it suffers from malnutrition at the same time. The World Health Organisation estimates that 43% of Indian children under the age of 5 are underweight.

"The cause is not so much a lack of food, but rather a lack of access to food," says Naren Tallapragada. Together with a fellow student he proposed the prize-winning idea to battle food waste in India by arranging a network of refrigerated boxes. Due to poor storage facilities, inefficient logistics and outdated trucks, food waste has been a long-term problem in India. In the hot and humid Indian climate, vast amounts of food spoil along the way from grower to consumer.

"By some estimates there are as many refrigerated trucks in the state of Massachusetts as there are in all of India," says Naren Tallapragada, an American PhD candidate in Systems Biology at Harvard University. As a son of Indian immigrants he's regularly visited his parents' homeland, and has witnessed food waste with his own eyes. "In India the rich and the poor live right next to each other, so everyone has seen piles of food waste."

Bring African agriculture to fruition

Global Farmers identify the top topics for Zambian agriculture

From 11 June to 18 June 2016, 20 farmers from all over the world gathered in Zambia, Africa to investigate what is needed to truly bring African agriculture to fruition. They immersed themselves in Zambia's broader cultural, societal and economical aspects as well as in the specifics of the country's agricultural sector.

A key finding: bringing change from the perspective of proven successful first world business models will not work – offering choices and involving local communities might. The sector is complex, its challenges myriad, nonetheless, Rabobank together with the Global Farmers have gained a good insight into the top topics for agriculture in Zambia.

Farm2Fork summit in Australia

‘Innovation in food & agri sector is vital´

An Airbnb for kitchens in cafés and restaurants, vertical agriculture at home and insects that turn leftover food into livestock feed. They are all examples of innovative solutions that help increase global food security.

The food & agri sector is facing formidable challenges worldwide. Feeding the world population of some 10 billion people by 2050 is a critical task for the sector. The farmers who must produce the required food are encountering growing shortages of water, fertilizer, energy and available arable land. The food and agri sector must moreover address a range of critical themes including food safety, changing consumer needs and behaviours, different eating patterns and a growing waste problem. All of this clearly shows that innovative solutions are an absolutely necessity with a view to meeting these challenges.

Stimulating sustainable agriculture
Agriculture and food have been at the heart of our strategy since 1898. We consider it a core task to help solve the world food problem sustainability. We call that ‘Banking for Food´. Around the world, we support farmers and market gardeners to increase production, more efficiently and more sustainability. We also strengthen food chains through numerous initiatives for sustainable food security, offering stakeholders access to finance, knowledge and networks.
Balancing risks and returns
Risks are inherent to banking — and managing them is our core business. We seek a healthy balance between risk and return by linking the right price with the risk for all activities. We continually train our employees in risk awareness and compliance, and are building a strong, transparent risk culture. The aim is to remain a solid and reliable bank, acting always in the best interest of our clients.
Restoring trust
Following a series of financial crises public confidence in financial institutions has plummeted. Rabobank included. We want to restore people´s trust by unreservedly putting the customer´s interest first in everything we do. And by showing our intense social commitment, in the Netherlands and around the world.
Increasing transparency
We constantly seek to achieve transparency and clarity. This means that we are open about what our clients think of our service provision. That our communication is always understandable and accessible, for instance in our product terms and conditions. And that we honestly show our progress on sustainable development and our financial results. In 2016 we took measures to increase our transparency in all these areas.
Digitalising services
Online and mobile banking offers customers increasing convenience. We are making major investments in further developing innovations like contactless payments, and are continually extending our digital services. Nearby our customers even in the digital world. Customers can contact our customer service for help day-and-night through chat, app or website. And intelligent data analyses help us improve the efficiency and quality of our advice.
Engaging with stakeholders
As a financial services provider Rabobank has a major role in society. And as a cooperative organisation we are very much aware of our social responsibility. Continuous dialogue with our stakeholders helps us to continually refine this role. For instance, on sustainability issues we consult widely with customers, employees, investors and NGOs, searching for opportunities to improve.
Working with clients on sustainability risks and returns
Rabobank encourages and helps customers to develop and realise sustainability ambitions. We bring people together to exchange knowledge and seize opportunities. We reward commercial front-runners in sustainability and encourage private customers to renovate sustainably through ‘Slim Verbouwen´. We also develop sustainable products like the Rabo green mortgage.
Supporting the vitality of communities
Local initiatives are important to strengthen neighbourhoods, villages and regions and make them more sustainable. As a cooperative bank we feel a strong responsibility to stimulate these initiatives — not just financially, but by sharing our knowledge and networks. In 2016 Rabobank contributed EUR 49 million to local and social projects and organisations in the Netherlands. In developing countries our support goes mainly to agricultural organisations and communities.
Promoting a circular economy
The global transition to a circular economy is central to our sustainability ambitions. A circular approach is needed to make the world more liveable for the long-term. It also strengthens the Dutch economy and its competitive position. We support our clients in this economic transition with tools and initiatives. And we are making our own organisation more sustainable: between 2013 and 2020 we want to reduce CO2 emissions per FTE by 10%.
Developing talent and competences
Our employees are the key to Rabobank´s success. Their personal competences, qualities and vitality determine the value we can offer our customers. Which is why Rabobank invests ceaselessly in employees´ personal and professional growth.
Encouraging diversity and equality
Diversity is a great strength. A more diverse staff profile enables us to better understand and serve our customers. In addition to gender diversity, 2016 saw explicit attention devoted to the promotion of cultural diversity, creating employment opportunities for people with an occupational disability, and the acceptance of LGBTI.
Responsible remuneration
Rabobank navigates its own, socially responsible and comparatively moderate course in its remuneration policy. All Rabobank employees receive a salary and a set of employment conditions commensurate with their responsibilities and performance. In addition, we strive to provide an inspiring working environment in which they make the most of themselves and their talents. Moreover, employees are offered unique chances to make a real difference in the world.
Strengthening capital ratios
In order to remain a rock-solid bank we have set targets for our capital ratios. We base these targets on the increasingly stringent requirements which banks must meet. In 2016 we achieved a common equity tier 1 ratio of 14% and a capital ratio of 25%. Extra efforts will be needed to meet future regulation.
Improving performance
Innovations, changing customer wishes, economic shifts, new market players and more stringent regulations. Rabobank is doing business in challenging circumstances. We´re undergoing a far-reaching transition to strengthen our capital position and provide the conditions for future growth. We are on track to achieve our financial and sustainability ambitions. And we are constantly developing our product and service offering. Satisfied customers are our top priority, now and in the future.
A more flexible balance sheet
A more flexible balance sheet helps us strengthen our capital position so that we can keep lending to our customers. New regulations will require us to reduce our balance sheet in the coming years. We prepared for this in 2016 by adjustments to processes and infrastructure. We also reduced the balance sheet by EUR 16.3 billion through measures including the sale of our subsidiary Athlon Car Lease, and various transactions in the mortgage and real estate portfolios.