Invested in a better climate

Climate change is bitter reality. The world is heating up, with risks for the environment, the food security of people and communities, and increasing hunger and poverty. Rabobank is taking its responsibility and is working together with customers and partners on solutions.

Rabobank recognises the seriousness of the issue of climate. In 2015, the bank not only issued a climate statement; in its sustainability policy 'Sustainably successful together’ the bank also describes how it will achieve its sustainability objectives for 2020. These objectives target limiting the risks of climate change and encouraging a sustainable and circular economy. "We are working in various ways on solutions to the climate issue," explains Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank. "Our business operations have been climate neutral since 2007, and we have reduced our CO2 footprint by an average of 5% in recent years. In recognition of this, we were the first bank to be awarded the Lean & Green Award this year. We are also joint founders and members of the FIRA platform, which examines the sustainable performance and processes of suppliers." The bank also wants to excel in providing services to make our society more sustainable. In this context, it launched the Green Mortgage this month – the first and only Dutch bank to do so. This mortgage offers private customers who purchase extremely energy efficient newbuild houses a considerable discount on their mortgage interest rate for 10 years.

Sustainable leaders in financing

The bank stopped investing in energy from fossil fuels many years ago. No less than 99% (€3.5 billion) of our investments in energy production focus on sustainable energy. The bank also considers it important to offer custom financial solutions for renewable energy projects, such as wind turbine parks, solar energy and biomass projects. For example, the bank is involved in the first nearshore windpark Westermeerwind in the IJsselmeer Lake, and in the first solar park on Ameland. In the Netherlands, Rabobank is the leader in financing such projects, and globally it is the fifth-largest financier of wind turbine parks.
The bank offers financing with attractive discounts to sustainability front runners with no fewer than 44 sustainability hallmarks. "They use this to invest in sustainable premises, reducing food waste and making their machinery more sustainable. This year, we were able to expand the Rabo Impact Loan to 100 million, together with the European Investment Bank (EIB)." The bank has also further tightened up the requirements for the shares in the recommended range. The shares from which the investment specialists of Rabobank compile the portfolios are therefore currently already 46% less CO2-intensive than the shares in the MSCI Developed Markets Index.

Being sustainable together

"As a cooperative bank, we see having a invested in a better climate not only as a task for ourselves but also together with our customers. Alongside financial solutions, such as the Rabo Impact Loan and investments in climate solutions, we consider it important to share knowledge and encourage cooperation." Rabobank therefore organises dozens of "Smart Renovation" events each year, throughout the Netherlands. These events not only involve private customers, but in particular businesses which have knowledge of sustainable living, building and renovation. The bank works together with SMB entrepreneurs in 20 Energetic Regions. "In these, we bring together hundreds of customers with energy performance advisors, in order to save costs and energy with an attractive investment. An average of €200,000 per customer is invested, with extremely short payback periods." For entrepreneurs who want to get to work with the circular economy, the bank organises regional CE Challenges. In the Groene Hart region, this resulted in cooperation between the Province of Zuid-Holland, Heineken Nederland and Metabolic. For the fifteenth time in three years, they carried out a regional study into opportunities for the circular economy, this one referred to as ‘Groene Hart Circulair’, which showed that the demand for energy in the Groene Hart region could be fully met by locally generated sustainable energy. “Another exceptional aspect was awarding the Herman Wijffels Innovation Prize for sustainable innovations. We awarded it for the fifteenth year in a row. This year it was won by AquaBattery, whose Blue Battery makes energy storage environmentally friendly, safe and scalable. This battery can give the transition towards sustainable energy a boost."

Increasing sustainability throughout the chain

Rabobank also takes its responsibility in agriculture. "We use our relationship as financier to discuss the subject with customers and interested parties. We encourage them to use energy more efficiently, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase the sustainability of energy sources. Moreover, in the coming years we will be working together with large agricultural customers in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The objective in this respect is to rapidly make agriculture more climate friendly, and to help it adapt to a changing climate." Good practical examples of this are the five innovation projects which focus on increasing the sustainability of the total food chain in the Netherlands (milk), India (sugar), Indonesia (palm oil), Chile (salmon) and Brazil (soya/meat). One of the partners in this is the Worldwide Fund for Nature. "In the coming years, we will be publishing 10 visions which focus on these sustainable global agricultural chains. Last month, we published the first vision: ‘Make sustainable palm oil the norm’. This describes how Rabobank wants to provide an active contribution to resolving the sustainability issues in the palm oil sector. Minister Lilianne Ploumen accepted a copy of the vision during a roundtable discussion on sustainable palm oil with all the key players in the Indonesian palm oil industry." The first results of the innovation project are also visible in the sugar industry in India. In recent years, the focus has been on sustainable water management and efficient use of energy, resulting in a reduction to CO2 emissions.

See the infographics and more information about the share of Rabobank and its customers in a better climate.

Read more