Triodos Bank UK’s lending to values-focused organisations and businesses in Wales reached £44m last year. The news comes as the sustainable bank, which only lends to projects working to benefit social, cultural or environmental causes, has employed a dedicated relationship manager based in, and covering, Wales.
During 2020, the bank’s loan book included a wide range of Welsh organisations, ranging from community energy projects to housing co-operatives, and organic farming to spiritual retreats. Triodos’s lending to projects in Wales saw a 45% growth between 2017 and 2020. Organisations supported in this period include:
- Awel y Gwrhyd Community Wind Farm near Swansea, owned by local community society Awel Co-op
- First Choice Housing Association, which provides accommodation across Wales specifically for vulnerable people to enable them to live independently within the local community.
Operating in Wales since 1995, Triodos uses money in a way that serves individuals and local communities by using bank loans to create positive change. Its UK head office is based across the border in Bristol.
Sarah Johnson,business banking relationship manager in Wales for Triodos Bank UK, commented: “I’m pleased to bring Triodos’s personal approach to business banking to more customers in Wales. There are a wealth of exciting enterprises and organisations based here and we’re well suited to understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that they face .”
Rob Keegan, business banking regional manager for Wales at Triodos Bank UK, added: “Following the Welsh government’s declaration of a climate emergency and the broad discussions around ensuring a green and fair recovery from the pandemic in Wales, it’s clear that the country is focused on paving the way for a sustainable economy and green jobs. We see supporting organisations that work for the benefit of people and the planet as an important role for us within this transition.”
Triodos lends to a number of sectors that build towards a greener and fairer future, and it is seeing growth across the whole of the UK. In 2020 its UK loan book grew to £1.07 billion, an increase of 10% on 2019. Its overall customers numbers grew by 20% in the year to more than 73,000.
Greenacres Animal Rescue
The bank’s latest loan in Wales is to Greenacres Rescue,an established animal rescue charity based in Pembrokeshire.
Greenacres Rescue is an animal rehoming and rehabilitation centre based near Haverfordwest. The charity runs rehoming services for all domestic animals, offering them permanent sanctuary at the centre where this isn’t possible. It focuses on giving every creature a ‘second chance’ meaning that all animals are given the medical treatment and the home that they need, regardless of their age or the costs involved.
The loan from Triodos will enable the purchase of the charity’s current site, a 28-acre space that is home to around 200 animals and is currently rented. In purchasing the site, the charity aims to secure its long-term future, continuing to help animals in need across the region for years to come.
Georgina Pearson, director at Greenacres Rescue, commented: “Owning our own site will provide added security for the charity and ensure the long-term future for our many permanent residents. We were pleased that Triodos saw the value in our work and wanted to support our welfare and social-wellbeing-based approach. We’re also incredible grateful to have received a legacy donation that has allowed us to go ahead with this purchase, and it just wouldn’t have been possible without that generosity.”
Triodos Bank’s Rob Keegan, added: “Our lending to Greenacres is particularly special for me: I grew up just down the road in Neyland and so am delighted to have this opportunity to support that community. The compassion-led approach of the centre is very impressive, benefitting not only the animals its cares for, but also its volunteer community and those who rehome.”
Triodos Bank was introduced to Greenacres by Social Investment Cymru, the social funder at Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the national membership body for voluntary organisations in Wales.
Alun Jones, head of Social Investment Cymru, added:“A key part of our role is to work collaboratively to get the best outcome for the organisations we work with. We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to play a part in ensuring that Greenacres can continue its great work well into the future.”