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Triodos Bank in the UK

In 2014, the UK’s banking sector was perhaps less dominated by scandal than in recent years. But debate on the appropriate behaviour of banks and their role in society continues.

Newer entrants to the UK banking sector, termed ‘challenger banks’, were increasingly visible in 2014. This is helping to create a move diverse market and provide greater consumer choice. Many of these newer entrants positioned themselves as offering an alternative to the status quo in banking. In response, other, more established banks, sought to reposition themselves in a more favourable light, and yet they continued to become embroiled in situations which challenged the integrity of their repositioning.

There remains a hunger for a new financial system built on genuine values delivering real positive impact to the real economy, and there is an increasingly positive picture for Triodos in the UK. People’s interest in sustainable finance continues to build, enabling us to grow our lending to high impact sustainable enterprises while at the same time welcoming record numbers of depositors.

Through Triodos Renewables plc we have been able to explore another growing form of alternative finance, crowdfunding, and the bank now offers our broadest range of investments yet. All of this demonstrates the sustained appeal of a banking model that allows people to align their savings and investments with their values.

In June 2014, Triodos Bank in the UK was accredited with the Living Wage Employer mark. The bank also moved to a new office in Scotland, the base for an expanded business banking team in the country from 2015.

Key milestones

Triodos Bank in the UK continued to grow at a sustainable, manageable level, and delivered lending growth of 9% to £565m – a net increase of £47m compared to £31m in 2013.

We have continued to develop a diverse and high-impact loan portfolio, with key areas of growth including hydro-electricity, social housing and faith group projects.

The amount of funds entrusted to us grew by 15.7% – or £102m – to £754m. Just over half of this came from growth in business banking deposits, reflecting a growing interest in banking sustainably from a range of organisations as well as individuals. This growth demonstrates a growing interest in socially useful banking. Attracting new customers and deposits has achieved a more sustainable ratio of loans to deposits for the UK branch.

We continued to welcome conscious investors choosing to deepen their relationship with us and invest in Triodos Bank depository receipts, with EUR 1.2 m raised and 8% new investors.

Triodos Corporate Finance remains a pioneer of innovative finance models in social investment. This included raising capital for Aspire and Ambition, two social enterprises working to support young homeless people, through the UK’s first social impact bonds to use SITR, a new tax relief.

Triodos Corporate Finance also expanded into new areas, including raising £360,000 for leading natural insect repellent brand Incognito.

Triodos Renewables plc, working with established UK crowd funder Trillion Fund, benefitted from the biggest ever crowd funded equity issue. Newer, alternative forms of finance, such as crowd funding, when appropriately regulated, all help create a more diverse financial sector in the UK and for that reason it is positive for Triodos to continue to build on such partnerships.

Customer communications

2014 saw the launch of our online magazine, the Colour of Money online, which, just three months later, is already drawing in around 5,000 monthly visitors and increasing its reach exponentially month by month.

Triodos also grew its social media presence significantly in 2014 and now has more than 23,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. The bank is also well-regarded for the quality of its content and engagement, achieving a recognition (Klout) in-line or, more frequently, above that of more established banks.

The bank was able to secure high profile coverage in national personal finance press with research around the public’s attitudes towards ethical investment during the spring and Good Money Week in the Autumn. Further coverage was achieved with the launch of the New ISA (NISA) rules in July.

In 2014 our share of voice in the media continued to grow as increasing numbers of consumers read about us in a broader number of media titles such as Director magazine, Impact Investor and The Sunday Times.

At our Annual meeting in Bristol more visitors than ever decided to spend the day hearing from a range of speakers and debating the real cost and true value of issues in energy, food and society.

And at the end of 2014, Triodos was voted by readers of Ethical Consumer magazine in the top five of the 25 most ethical businesses of the past 25 years.

Growing our network

In 2014 the bank grew its network of partners, reaching more than three million people who share our values, opening more than 1,000 personal accounts with 80% new to bank customers.

Ambitions for 2015

The personal current account project is now underway, and a personal mortgage product will follow.

We will continue to increase our high-impact lending to meet a growing demand. We will target an increasingly diverse loan portfolio including sectors such as hydro-electricity, extra care and community projects.

In our twentieth anniversary year, Bristol, home to the UK branch, is also European Green Capital 2015, and we are delighted to support the myriad opportunities this will bring, both in terms of awareness of sustainable banking, Bristol’s role as a leading European sustainable city as well as the increasing numbers of visitors to Bristol and the bank, from both near and far. As part of this, Bristol will host Triodos Bank’s annual International Co-worker Conference when we will welcome more than 100 European Triodos co-workers to the UK.

We will continue to be a reference point for sustainable banking, demonstrating its capacity as a powerful force for good and one well suited to current times.

Charles Middleton
Managing Director

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Nantwen (photo)

Nantwen is an eco-cottage and intimate wedding venue near Newport on the Pembrokeshire coast. Originally a barn, in 2011 owners Daniel Davies and Jemma Slade converted it into a luxurious holiday cottage for two. They are passionate about the environment and the building is full of eco-technology, winning Nantwen a Gold Award for sustainability from Green Tourism.

Incognito (photo)

Incognito was founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Howard Carter and Patricia Conlon. They have developed a highly effective insect repellent using only planet based natural ingredients, providing an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic repellents such as DEET. In 2014, Incognito raised £360,000 of investment in just three weeks with the support of Triodos Bank’s Corporate Finance team.


Food and farming

Yeo Valley (photo)

Yeo Valley is the largest organic business in the UK and one of the nation’s best loved brands. The family run company, based in Blagdon, Somerset, has remained strongly committed to running the business sustainably. To support its ambition to become energy self-sufficient in the next three to five years, it has installed of a 500kW solar array on the roof at Holt Farm Dairy, Yeo Valley’s dairy farming sister company, with the support of Triodos Bank finance.

Brighton Open Market (photo)

Brighton Open Market has been at the heart of city life since the 1800s. Now, thanks to a £1 million loan from Triodos Bank, the market has been rebuilt with space for 45 permanent stalls and is now a thriving collection of independent traders offering a huge array of locally produced food and drink as well as exhibition space for arts and crafts, street performance and entertainment.


Arts and culture

Krowji (photo)

Krowji in Redruth brings together a community of artists and designers under one roof in Cornwall’s biggest creative hub. An initiative of Cornwall Arts Centre Trust, Krowji provides studios, workshops and other facilities for a wide range of creative industries. Krowji is undertaking a £3 million redevelopment project which includes building a state of the art, three-story eco-building that will double its capacity to more than 200 tenants.

Calvary International Christian Centre (photo)

Calvary International Christian Centre is a vibrant apostolic church in the centre of Leeds which is dedicated to its local community and determined to have a positive impact. More than just a place of worship, the centre is a community outreach project offering help and support to the homeless, unemployed, young people, older people and vulnerable women.



Blackwood Housing Association (photo)

Blackwood Housing Association was founded in 1972 by Dr Margaret Blackwood, MBE; her aim to help disabled people live independently. Now, more than 40 years on, Blackwood has more than 1,500 affordable homes, four care homes and is Scotland’s leading expert in property adaptations, helping tenants with a wide range of needs to live independently and with dignity.

Start Again (photo)

Start Again is a Community Interest Company set up to help support the housing and social needs of young people living with mental illness. Founded in North Birmingham in 2008, Start Again’s mission is to understand, encourage and empower mentally ill and homeless 13 to 30 year olds in their search for a better life. By providing accommodation and using football sessions, mentoring, and one to one support, Start Again enables young people to develop personally and socially so that they can lead fuller lives within their communities.