In the Western world economic growth has stagnated, while emerging markets have continued to grow. Urgent environmental and social crises have been pushed to the background in the face of these economic problems, but they remain. Indeed, they are growing. All of these challenges are interconnected and all, ultimately, are about leverage. Governments, and some businesses and individuals, have chosen to borrow irresponsibly from the future, to profit today. Consumption has become more important than quality of life; recognising all of this however, creates a chance for change.
Unlike previous years, 2011 has marked a more profound awakening of civic action. From the pressure exerted by huge online communities – able to respond rapidly to changing circumstances like those of the Arab Spring – to the much publicized actions of the Occupy movement calling for a fairer financial system, disparate voices are raising fundamental questions about the way we live and the systems we have come to depend on. Triodos Bank, and other institutions like us, can help answer them and show that a new way of banking, in particular, is possible.
Triodos Bank engages with, and is strongly connected to, important events in the world around it. And we have continued to deliver predictable, stable growth as they happened in 2011. During the year, we continued to do what we have done since our foundation in 1980, servicing the real and sustainable economy on the basis of the same mission and values.