Greater recognition for Rabobank’s transparency about sustainability

Rabobank continues to make great strides in terms of transparency and accountability in its sustainability policies. The bank’s efforts are now being recognised by various organisations that assess banks for their levels of transparency.

In its annual report published on 21 May, 2015, Fair Finance Guide International (which also publishes a ‘fair banking’ guide for the Netherlands called Eerlijke Bankwijzer) states that Dutch banks, including Rabobank, have improved their transparency when it comes to their financing and activities.

Dialogue with 48 clients about non-compliance

One of the improvements made by Rabobank that Fair Finance Guide International has noted is that the bank has been sharing more detailed information about its ongoing dialogue with companies regarding corporate social responsibility. A good example is Rabobank’s dialogue with 48 clients on social, environmental and other issues. Rabobank’s Director of Sustainability Bas Rüter: ‘The purpose of this dialogue is to ensure that these clients will eventually comply with our sustainability requirements, which will help them to further improve the sustainability of their products and services.’

Sustainability performance recorded in client photo

The Fair Finance Guide International report also expressed appreciation for Rabobank’s policy of disclosing the percentage of companies that do not comply with the bank’s sustainability criteria. In its 2014 annual report, Rabobank announced that, for the first time ever, it recorded the sustainability performance of more than 36,000 business clients in so-called client photos. It turns out that more than 99 percent of these businesses comply with the bank’s sustainability requirements. Rüter: ‘We use this data to support our business clients in improving their sustainability performance, and the client photo is updated annually.’

These efforts are in line with Rabobank’s new, international sustainability strategy up to 2020, ‘Sustainably Successful Together’. Key elements of this strategy are supporting business and retail customers in improving their sustainability, increasing the sustainability of agriculture and the food supply around the world and strengthening people’s communities.

Important steps

‘We have made a number of key steps in our organisation in the past year in terms of improving transparency’, Bas Rüter says. ‘Although Fair Finance Guide’s report was not exhaustive and left out some of the improvements we introduced, we are nevertheless very pleased to see that our efforts are being noticed and recognised in this way.

The independent research company RobecoSam recently also reported that Rabobank ranks as one the highest-performing banks worldwide in terms of sustainability. According to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Rabobank is ranked twelfth on a list of more than 100 banks.’

Transparency regarding profit and tax payments

Rabobank is on track to make further progress in improving its transparency regime. As part of its efforts, it recently extended its country-by-country reporting policies: in addition to details on domicile, headcount and revenue, it now also discloses information about profits and tax payments. The tax statement published early this year reveals that Rabobank has further tightened its anti-tax avoidance policies.