One of Triodos’ key aims is to “help create a society that protects and promotes the quality of life of all its members and that has human dignity at its core”. To this end, it has extensive ‘minimum standards’ for companies that it invests in, which cover areas such as health and safety, governance and human rights. Within these, Triodos addresses the alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons industries, as well as involvement in conflict minerals and human or labour rights abuses. Triodos has been recognised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for this policy, excluding all companies involved in arms-related activities.
Triodos similarly takes a strong stance on sustainability. The ‘Environment’ section of its minimum standards outlines its approach to biodiversity, deforestation, energy, genetic engineering, hazardous substances and contamination, natural resources and mining, and water. In 2017, 38% of its loans went to environmental projects, including renewable energy (wind and solar power, biomass, hydroelectric, and energy saving projects), organic agriculture and other projects across the agricultural chain, and environmental technology (recycling companies and nature conservation). The company receives Ethical Consumer’s best rating for environmental reporting for these reasons.
Triodos also tackles several animal rights issues through its minimum standards for lending. These include policies on animal testing, factory farming, fisheries, fur and speciality leather.
When Ethical Consumer looked at banking transparency in April 2018, Triodos came ‘Top of the pile’. Not only does it have a clear policy for its investments and lending, it publishes a full list of the companies in which it holds shares and how it voted in their AGMs. It is therefore an industry-leading responsible investor, and receives a positive Company Ethos mark for this reason. Normally, Ethical Consumer marks companies down for banking or investment relationship with criticised companies. However, Triodos received an exemption due to its industry-leading transparency.