Rabobank Group is convinced that, for the longer term, sustainable relations of production contribute to the vitality of our economy and the profitability of individual producers. Accordingly, considerations in favour of a clean environment, humane working conditions and social well-being play an increasing part in the Group's business and financial policies. Sustainability essential in credit applications Reviewing and reporting Green facility continued Sustainability and social engagement 45 Sustainability and social engagement Traditionally, the local Rabobanks have a strong commitment to the investment climate and general well-being in their area of operation. Because of their co-operative tradition and their focus on common values, they need to find a proper balance between the various interests of people, the market and society. This is reflected in their lending policy, their engagement in local initiatives and the range of financial products offered to their clients. Sustainability also plays an important part in advising on business plans and realignments. The choice in favour of environmentally friendly products and tech nology is often a source of innovation and helps co-operation within supply chains. Rabobank Group feels partly responsible for Dutch society. Accordingly, it assesses credit applications on aspects including sustainability, socially responsible business practices, genetic modifi cation and ethics. In the year under review, internal guidelines were adjusted for these demands and are now more in line with the general code of conduct, mission statement and code for genetic modification of Rabobank Group as well as its internal views on socially responsible business practices. Obviously, as regards loans, businesses must meet current environmental laws and regulations. Estimated environmental risks and social issues, however, are also important, including compliance with social standards, respect for the well-being of animals and the use of genetic modification. In practice, this might result in credit applications being rejected. In order to measure progress made in sustainability and social engagement, indicators were formulated in 2002 for both reporting and managing of the activities. As a result, targets for sustainable housing, green investments, lending and human resources manage ment are more objective than in the past. At Group level, this com prises a large number of indicators. In a pilot project, 20 local Rabobanks are using fifteen key criteria to assess the practical appli cation of the sustainability standards in their area of operation. In June 2002, there were strong signs that the 1.3% tax rebate for green investments would be discontinued. As a result, Rabo Green Bank was forced to put a temporary stop to the issue of Rabo Green

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

Annual Reports Rabobank | 2002 | | pagina 47