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Triodos Bank: Conscious Money in Action

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Triodos Bank was developed in 1968 through a group discussion on how money can be managed sustainably. The discussion was mainly around the spiritual philosophy known as anthroposophy (found in early 20th century by Rudolf Steiner). Steiner’s theory was to state that if the three ideals of the French Revolution (liberty, equality, and fraternity) were put under the right sectors then it would balance the social life. Furthermore, through the application of inter-personal skills such as self-awareness and self-development, will help us to reach equal agreements and thrive as a team to achieve a goal.

Triodos is a Greek word known as “threefold way”. The founder of Triodos bank’s purpose was to create a social change by offering entrepreneurial activities. The money from Triodos’ non-profit foundation (1971) was funded at a starting capital of €540,000 to Triodos bank in 1980 and their core purpose was to focus on Rudolf Steiner’s development of the three folding theory, where they would assess if the bank loan is economically healthy and has a meaningful inspirational purposes for the future. Since, the founding of Triodos, the bank has expanded itself into other countries such as, Belgium (1993), UK (1995), Spain (2004) and Germany (2009).

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Fund raising for Triodos bank was an easy task and every year their goal was to double the fund raising target. From the period of 2007 to 2012, the bank has managed to grow their total deposits from 20% to 25% per annum and this made them outstanding in the financial market as their competitors were still facing difficulties from the financial crisis in 2008. Pierre Aeby, the CFO market has never failed to follow the rule in the market – “high return, high risk; low return, low risk”, therefore, this strategy helped to keep the bank’s return stable.

In 2012, Triodos bank has raised in total €4.6 billions from the five branches and each percentage of the fund was spread across five different areas, which are: Environment (49%), Social (28%), Culture (12%), Municipality (5%), and Private Loans (6%). Furthermore, the bank was specialised in investment management and private banking as well, where the firm has funded 19 funds in five different areas: Energy and Climate, Emerging Markets; Real Estate; Arts and Culture; and Socially Responsible Investment in publicly traded companies. Through the management team the bank has raised over €2 billion in 2012 and as well as private banking sector became available in Netherlands and Belgium, where their management’s assets were worth €558 millions. As a result, the net profit in 2012 was €4.2 million from investment management and €0.9 millions from private banking sector.

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