Approximately 821,500 individuals benefited from the work of educational establishments financed by Triodos Bank in 2014 (2013: 587,300), primarily as a result of growth in this sector in Spain.
So for every Triodos Bank customer, 1.5 people benefited from education through an establishment we financed.
Our vision and activities
Percentage of our loans to the education sector
Lending by subsector
Our vision on education
We believe that education brings huge benefits to the individual in terms of personal development and well-being – and to society in terms of economic development and social cohesion.
Diverse Education. Singular Benefits.
Because Triodos Bank believes in improving quality of life across the social spectrum, it argues that it is important that the education system is sufficiently diverse and inclusive to cater to the needs of all individuals no matter what their abilities.
Some educational establishments practicing progressive education concepts, or those working with individuals with special needs, require financial support other than government funding. We aim to contribute to maintaining and nurturing this diversity within the education system – to produce positive impact for individuals, their families and society.
Early childhood is a particularly important stage in personal and social development so we finance many schools and kindergartens whose philosophy particularly focus on a child-centred approach that brings creativity into the child’s curriculum.
We also finance education establishments for those with special needs and adult and community education projects.
Triodos Bank provides finance for educational establishments which aim to complement national education systems by integrating progressive approaches to working with individuals with a greater range of needs.
Waldorf School Munich South West
What challenge was the inspiration for your project?
Experiences gathered during numerous talks with people indicate that society is in the process of breaking up into three groups: a central group of working people and two peripheral groups of children and pensioners. Especially the latter provide a greater challenge for our society as they both require a care environment. Children require care as both their parents have to work due to the high living costs in the City of Munich and pensioners as many of them are no longer as mobile and independent. Because of this, they often drift to the margins of society where they live an anonymous life.
To prevent this, we have developed the concept of a multi-generation place. Our goal is to create synergies and re-unite the generations, all of this liberally based on the African proverb: “It takes a whole village to raise a child”.
For the older generations, it was natural to grow up in a village. There the children developed freely and were shown their limits by a multitude of people, in other words not just their parents. However, as the large family is no longer a feasible concept today, we decided that we don't always need blood relatives but often will get along just as well with the relatives we choose to have.
We were driven by the idea of creating a place where people could live for and with one another in order to return everyone to their place in society.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
The project provides a place where all of life's situations can play out, from the children's crèche to a place to care for the elderly. But the internal factors are the key here as synergies are only created through living together. There are elderly people who work in the children's house, the lunch play group and the canteen, where they can also take their meals. On the other hand, we also have student projects that help the elderly with tasks like their shopping. This is where the synergies are really being lived.
But the project aims to be state-of-the-art in terms of energy, too. Our energy centre links all the components; in other words the school and living areas receive their energy independently from a cogeneration plant and photovoltaic plant. The plants even produce a surplus of energy, meaning that we can feed the excess energy into the grid where it is transferred to the municipality.
We also offer car sharing. We aim to keep our carbon footprint as neutral as possible by operating the energy centre and energy-efficient buildings and also make a small contribution to reducing congestion in Munich. So if you are really short of car at some point, you can rent a vehicle from our car sharing pool for a small price. There are also very good public transport connections.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?
Triodos bank was the only bank with the courage to help us realise this project. We are a very small association and were faced with the challenge of financing a very large parcel of land of just under 20,000 sqm in central Munich with little to none own funds.
This is the reason why one after another, the other banks turned us down. Only Triodos Bank decided to support us all the way. Triodos Bank lives the principle of sustainability. And this has been highlighted very well in the accompany of our project.
What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?
The heads of Munich attended our opening ceremony last weekend and confirmed that this is not just an exemplary project for cognitive education in the real sense, but that it is also of great importance in social terms as well as for society itself. We have had an enormous feedback from everyone. We have received requests from the City of Munich as well as other countries to realise further projects of this kind.
Other school administrations also show a high interest in our project. However, a project like this means that you have to think further than just school, which is something many shy away from as it would mean an enormous amount of coordination and work.
What impact has your business had on the community?
We stand for the principle of a learning community without being dogmatic about it. Children learn again how to play outdoors and how to live with one another in a community right from the start.
We live this community ideal and are also taking it into our neighbourhood. Our property is open to all. We don't hide behind a screen, but wish to reduce prejudices and therefore continue to involve our neighbourhood. Even the city council has agreed that it is a great benefit to have us for a neighbour and that our organisation creates added value for our district.
There are so many aspects where we have to re-unite people and help them to come out of their isolation. This primarily affects many elderly people who often resign themselves to loneliness. Multi-generation meeting places re-integrate these people in our society and give them back self-respect.
We re-unite the generations as a community.
We define educational establishments as ‘institutions dedicated to education’ e.g. schools, training centres etc. Child Care centres are only included when the majority of their activity is educational.
The number of individuals educated is either based on actual figures for number of people who attended courses, schools etc. provided by the institution we finance. Or, if that data is not available, the average number of people who attend a course during the year, multiplied by the number of courses they put on.
We measured at least 80% of the education portfolio and extrapolated the data. We include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project.
The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are made on the basis of the average deposit per customer across its five branches. This is then matched with the same proportion of Triodos Bank’s total impact in a given sector. There were a total of 530,000 customers at the end of 2014.