Investing in vital communities
Initiatives of, by and for the people are needed to improve the quality of life in their local communities and make these more sustainable. Rabobank welcomes and encourages initiatives by customers which contribute to such sustainable local communities – not least by connecting them with each other and with various experts in their field.
Our society has changed in many ways over the past fifteen years and our communities are set to undergo a further transformation in the next decade. These changes are occurring all over the world, with trends including a growing importance of the interests and position of individuals and smaller, ‘hands-off’ government. These new-style governments have returned the initiative and responsibility to the people, businesses and the market. This extends into many different areas, including healthcare, energy supply, housing and access to financial services.
Combining individual and shared interests
There is a perceivable, growing desire among people to work together on improving society. Initiatives exist that are beyond the reach of the individual and which rely on support from the wider community. Examples of this would include organising small-scale, personal health care, introducing sustainable energy in local communities, developing innovative new forms of housing and maintaining a neighbourhood’s quality of life. By working together and investing in each other, people can successfully combine individual and shared interests.
Support from local Rabobanks
People looking to improve their local communities together tend to have a need for information, connections and, in some cases, financial support. More often than not, Rabobank is able to provide them with the assistance they need. As a cooperative, Rabobank itself was established as a form of business cooperation, one whose objective is to improve the lives of its members and customers and their communities. Rabobank is eager to share with its customers its knowledge of, and experience in, organisation and enterprise on a cooperative basis. If customers require expertise in areas such as healthcare, housing or energy, Rabobank can put them in touch with any number of experts, many of whom are themselves also Rabobank customers. Local Rabobanks across the Netherlands allocate an annual amount for local communities and their efforts to make society more sustainable. In addition, Rabobank Foundation, the bank’s social fund, supports initiatives to promote self-reliance among various groups of people.
Establishment of financial services in developing countries
Rabobank’s support of local communities extends beyond the Netherlands alone. In various countries across Africa and Asia, people’s opportunities for development and the quality of life in local villages are determined by the stage of development of the local agricultural industry and access to financial services. Rabo Development and Rabobank Foundation are both instrumental in improving these conditions.
In fact, Rabo Development’s motto is ‘Reaching the unbanked’. Rabo Development supports partner banks in various African and Asian countries with capital, management and technical assistance. These partner banks, for their part, are given the opportunity to develop their services for consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises in local communities.
Rabobank Foundation supports the establishment of cooperatives for small farmers in various developing countries. By working together in cooperatives, farmers can gain access to finance and expertise and increase the number of sales channels for their products.