Helping business clients become sustainable step by step

Reducing production costs, using fewer raw materials and making sustainable products appealing to consumers. They are challenges and issues every business faces. Rabobank provides its business clients with assistance and inspiration to achieve sustainable development.

Rabobank believes it is its role as a bank to strengthen clients and their communities. In the Netherlands some 800,000 small and large businesses from all sectors bank with Rabobank. Rabobank’s client base outside the Netherlands is comprised primarily of companies operating in the food and agri sector.

Economic development

Rabobank is committed to helping business clients gradually make their enterprises sustainable and in turn assisting them to strengthen their competitive position. Sustainable development does, after all, have everything to do with economic development and in many cases even with new business models. A concrete example: Businesses who invest in energy saving or sustainable energy generation both save costs and help protect the climate. Businesses can also attain new earning models, while at the same time conserving raw materials and natural resources by taking a different approach to raw materials, production methods and recycling. Using the tomato skins left over after making ketchup to make car dashboards gives real meaning to the term ‘circular economy’.

Advising, financing and inspiring

Rabobank will achieve the following sustainability aim with business clients en route to 2020:

  • Sustainable client photo. Rabobank gives clients a clear picture of whether they are ahead or behind of their sector competitors in the area of sustainability. This ‘client photo’, combined with advice, provides insight into the business’ strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in the market. For smaller businesses, Rabobank makes relevant sustainability knowledge available via mobile applications in order to help them gradually become sustainable.
  • Frontrunners come first. Rabobank is doubling the scope of its services for sustainable frontrunners. Sustainable initiatives are given priority access to financing within the standard risk and return requirements. Rabobank also, on request, develops new financial solutions in partnership with frontrunners with a view to optimally supporting their business success.

Sustainable initiatives are given priority access to financing within the standard risk and return requirements.

  • Developing a circular economy. We share knowledge and develop new business and financing models. In addition, we explore regional opportunities for organising the circular economy throughout the Netherlands. Another key activity involves launching, financing and taking part in initiatives that promote high-quality raw material recycling and sustainable chains.
  • Making financing sustainable. We use our business clients’ sustainability performance to underpin financing proposals. Our clients are offered tailor-made financial solutions that help them gradually improve their sustainability performance. We introduce new products that form a direct link between our savers and investors and innovative sustainable businesses.

The facts at a glance

Rabobank has already achieved a great deal in recent years with respect to helping business clients become sustainable:

  • Rabobank is the leader in green financing in the Netherlands. The Rabo Groen Bank is the largest green bank in the Dutch market with 1.9 billion euros in outstanding green loans. Green label greenhouses, wind energy, geothermal energy, organic farmers and sustainable buildings are the primary investment categories we finance. The Rabo Groen Bank and the local Rabobanks have launched an attractive solar panel programme for the food and agri sector in the Netherlands. Rabobank is market leader in the United States and Canada in wind and solar energy and in the financing of wind turbines in the Netherlands.
  • Rabobank introduced a loan with an interest rate discount from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for sustainable frontrunners in the Dutch SME sector in November 2015.
  • Rabobank promotes innovation in sustainability. You can’t have sustainability without innovation. Rabobank consequently promotes sustainable developments and innovations that contribute to a sustainable future. In the Netherlands Rabobank organises the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award and the Circular Economy Challenge.
  • Sustainable corporate bonds. Large companies and financial institutions increasingly finance their sustainable projects via the capital market. Institutional investors are attracted to investing in sustainable corporate bonds (green bonds). In order to support the growing demand for sustainable corporate bonds, Rabobank and a number of investment banks jointly published the Green Bond Principles in early 2014. The objective of this publication is aimed at standardising sustainable corporate bonds.

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