Annual Report 2014: Rabobank uses financing and client photo for sustainability

‘Sustainably successful together’ is being given real substance and meaning for a growing number of Rabobank clients. The Rabobank Group Annual Report 2014 states that social impact financing rose to 21.9 billion euros last year. It also reports that the sustainability performance of more than 36,000 business clients has now been charted.

‘Sustainably successful together’ is the title of Rabobank’s international sustainability strategy to 2020 that was adopted in late 2014. The key elements of this strategy are supporting business and retail clients in achieving sustainability, helping to make agriculture and the food supply sustainable worldwide and strengthening the communities in which people live.

Using financing to help clients become sustainable

Rabobank had 21.9 billion euros in outstanding social impact loans at year-end 2014, an increase of 2% compared to 2013. ‘In concrete terms this means we have dedicated 21.9 billion euros to supporting clients to make their business operations sustainable’, says Rabobank Executive Board Member Berry Marttin. This amount includes the projects that have received 1.7 billion euros in green financing via Rabo Groen Bank. Rabo Groen Bank is market leader in the Netherlands in the field of green financing with a market share of 49%.

Market leader in financing wind turbines

Rabobank is market leader in the Netherlands in the field of financing wind turbines. It has financed projects including the largest Dutch onshore wind farm (NOP Agrowind) and the Netherlands’ first nearshore wind farm (Westermeerwind). ‘Westermeerwind has a capacity of 144 megawatts and consequently makes a major contribution to achieving the upscaling of renewable energy generation in the Netherlands that was agreed in the Netherlands Energy Agreement. We were responsible for approximately 75% of the growth in the Dutch market in 2014. Rabobank is market leader in the US and Canada with the most transactions in the wind and solar sector. In 2014, we gained a top-10 position in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance League Table, the international rankings of the leading renewable energy generation financiers’, says Berry Marttin. As a member of the Dutch National Energy Savings Fund, Rabobank participates in more than 500 loans (5.9 million euros) in order to encourage people to install energy-saving measures in their homes, such as low-emissivity glazing, insulating doors and exterior insulation.

Client photo provides initial insights

Rabobank is committed to supporting its clients even more expressly in the coming years. This is why Rabobank is employing sustainability criteria for its business clients. Based on a so-called sustainability photo, a business client can see where they stand with respect to certain aspects of sustainability. Sustainability photos have already been made for 36,000 business clients in the Netherlands that have more than one million euros in financing. Berry Marttin: ‘Initial analyses show that 7% of the clients are among the frontrunners in their sector in the field of sustainability. Around 85% of the clients fall into the category of businesses that recognise the importance of sustainability, but view it primarily from an economic perspective. It would have a major impact if this large group of clients were to take additional steps. We can enter into a dialogue on this topic based on the client photo. Both we and other parties can provide them with insights and knowledge on how they can become more sustainable and more profitable.’ Rabobank supports innovative projects in circular enterprise and in the food and agri sector that will yield concrete ideas for how businesses can make their operations sustainable. The initial results of the sustainability photo reveal that 0.5% does not meet Rabobank’s sustainability criteria. Rabobank is meeting with these clients to talk about a plan of approach, so that they can quickly return to a situation in which they comply with the bank’s sustainability requirements.

3.5% of net profit invested in social projects

Strengthening the communities in which people live and work forms a crucial part of Rabobank’s approach. Rabobank invested 64.8 million euros in not-for-profit social projects in 2014. This amounts to 3.5% of the total net profit in 2014, compared to 3% in 2013. Rabobank supports grassroots initiatives and new local social initiatives via the local Rabobanks in the Netherlands. These initiatives are primarily in the field of solar energy, care for the elderly and internet access. Through the Rabobank Foundation, the bank supports more than 400 projects at more than 300 project partners, mainly producer cooperatives and savings and loan cooperatives, in 29 countries. At year-end 2014, Rabobank Foundation has issued over EUR 28 million in loans and guarantees. Furthermore, an amount of EUR 3.8 million in technical assistance and small donations has been approved in 2014.

Read more