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
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