By using our website you agree that we can place cookies on your device. More information including how to disable cookies is available in our Cookie Statement

Social projects – Header image (photo)

Social projects

Impact measures

We have made loans to 408 social enterprises totalling €87.8 million. In addition we have €223.8 million in loans to social housing projects – providing accommodation for around 8,000 people.

Social projects – Impact measures (graphic)


We estimate that our loans represent around 40% of the market value of the total property portfolio in social housing and we have assumed a property value of around €70,000 per tenant.

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 517,000 customers at the end of 2013.

Our vision and activities

Social projects lending

Percentage of our loans to the social sector

Social projects – 8.8% of our loans to the social sector (pie chart)
  • 6.3% to social housing
  • 2.5% to social enterprises

Lending by subsector
(social enterprises only)

Social projects – Lending by subsector (pie chart)
% derived from data at the time of publication

Our vision on social projects

There are many social organisations and charities developing commercially viable approaches to tackling social problems. At the same time, we see a growing number of social entrepreneurs: individuals creating new business models driven by a social motive to serve a specific group in their community or in society, underpinned by the notion of disciplined business management.

Financing the social economy

We see the potential for this emerging ‘Social Economy’ sector to play a positive and significant role alongside the public sector and the conventional business sector in shaping our future economies.

Our priorities

Within this sector we focus on relationships with leading social entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that their approach has a clear positive social impact for the communities they serve.

In many cases, social enterprises are adapting to major changes in governmental and public sector funding. As such they need to be innovative in how they organise their business so they can deliver the biggest possible social benefit whilst also being economically sustainable.

We are particularly keen to support business models that have the potential to become scalable and increase their impact through growing their business and inspiring others to do the same.

Our activities

Our activities within social projects include loans to organisations delivering a positive social benefit from community enterprises, fair trade businesses, and social enterprises offering employment to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, to not-for-profit social purpose companies, and providers of social housing.

Case study

L’Atelier de l’Avenir

Social projects – Case study L’Atelier de l’Avenir (photo)

The social profit sector in Belgium is helping to find creative and entrepreneurial solutions to deal with social challenges such as the ageing population and the growing costs of health care. In the employment sector the challenge is to offer jobs to people who have little or no access to the ‘regular’ job market.

Decreasing subsidies have had a considerable impact on the sector in recent years. In this new environment social organisations are expected to develop a more business-like approach and to focus more on market approaches.

Supporting professionalisation

Triodos Bank finances a wide range of social organizations that work for a variety of specific audiences such as unemployed or elderly people, or people with physical or learning disabilities. All these organisations have a social mission and share the same values as Triodos Bank, making them natural partners.

Apart from our role as bank and financial partner, we also participate in events in the social profit sector, organise workshops, and support organisations such as Toolbox and i-Propeller, who help the sector to professionalize further in the transition to more commercial models.

Innovative building

‘Atelier de l’Avenir’ is part of ‘Atelier du Monceau’, which employs almost 100 people who are deaf or hearing impaired. In their factory close to Liège, Atelier de l’Avenir manufactures panels that are used in an innovative building technique. The panels are energy-efficient building blocks for ‘modular’ houses that can be assembled and re-assembled, so that buildings can evolve over time – an important innovation for social housing in particular.

Triodos Bank financed the construction of the factory where the panels will be made, in addition to a line of credit.

Direct impact

The company enables people with disabilities, especially the deaf and/or hearing impaired, to enjoy a profitable job and independent living. They do this by giving guidance, information and employment of people with disabilities. This impact has human dignity at its core, a central tenet of Triodos Bank’s mission.


Read more from this chapter