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2002 Update on Triodos Bank by Caroline Whyte

Triodos Bank has developed considerably since 1996, and continues to have the same mission, exclusively providing loans to organisations which meet its ethical and environmental standards. James Niven, the communications manager at Triodos, comments that "there is a growing movement of people in the UK who are interested in this type of banking". He cites a September 2002 NOP Poll, commissioned by the bank, which indicates that 63% of UK consumers think that their savings should benefit society as well as pay interest.

In 2001 the UK-based branch of Triodos Bank had a total of 247m EUR in funds entrusted to it, of which 79m EUR was loaned out. Overall, the bank had 667m EUR in funds, with 329m EUR in loans, and the Triodos Group, which comprises the bank and its managed investment funds, had 1,109 million EUR.

photo of wind turbine
A wind turbine under construction in North Wales, as part of a project financed by Triodos
As these figures show, the number of deposits has grown enormously since 1994, but the ratio of loans to deposits is still quite low, at 49%.The 2001 Annual Report states that "the objective is to have at least 50% of the deposits in loans and increase this, over the long term, to 70%". Niven says that "while an increase in loans has struggled to keep pace with a marked increase in personal deposits, this continues to be a target for the organisation".

The bank also continues in its policy of transparency, whereby customers know exactly how their money is being used. An annual project list is available which gives detailed descriptions of loan customers' projects. Niven says that this policy is unique to UK banks. Accounts can still be targeted, eg there is an Organic Saver account which funds organic farms, run in partnership with the Soil Association, an Earth Saver account, and a Just Housing account, among others. Niven explains that although there is no formal programme that emphasises local targeting - ie targeting a fund to a specific local area - it's possible nonetheless to target funds in this way by connecting savings very specifically to a particular organisation or local charity.

Triodos Bank recently launched a campaign, 'Take Control', which is intended to "challenge people in the UK to take control of their finances and use them to make a positive difference to society and the environment" (quote from Triodos website). As part of this campaign it has established a new Charity Saver account, which enables savers to direct a proportion of their interest to a designated charity, which can be national or local.

Triodos Bank has offices in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium, and some of its borrowers are also in Ireland. Niven comments, "The overall aim of the bank continues to be to contribute towards a more people-orientated society, which respects people, the environment and culture. Triodos Bank hopes to achieve this by continuing to grow in terms of size and the impact it makes on wider society."

Triodos Bank, Brunel House, 11, The Promenade, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3NN. Tel. +44 0117 973 9339, fax +44 0117 973 9303, e-mail

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