lending in the wholesale banking division. Since GAIA was rolled out, 65% of all corporate
wholesale clients have been assessed. GAIA is also used for retail clients in Australia and Brazil,
and in wholesale banking, which brings the total of assessed clients to about 5,500. GAIA allows
relationship managers to better gauge opportunities and threats associated with clients'
responsible business practices. The assessments, which are updated annually, are reviewed on
a random basis. Although the quality is improving, it is crucial for the further implementation
of the value chain policy that relationship managers raise their awareness of opportunities
and threats, and that the need for dialogue with the customer is brought home to them.
Engagement in practice
Rabobank chooses an engagement approach in its dialogue with clients.This means that we
speak with the client about the opportunities and threats associated with their operations, and
address sustainability issues. This dialogue is often motivated by the outcome of the customer
assessment system, messages in the media or via direct contact. From a risk perspective, the
meetings with clients are meant to gain a better understanding of how clients approach
sustainability issues. In addition, Rabobank International often helps clients to make their
value chains more sustainable. In the reporting period, for instance, this resulted in support
for several projects that Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Development undertook with clients.
A number of projects focus on improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers by enhancing the
quality of the cocoa beans, increasing productivity and reducing costs. The support includes
training the farmers, facilitating certification and developing cooperatives.
Rabobank International also plays a role in multi-stakeholder initiatives to make various
crops more sustainable. For more information we refer to the chapter entitled Dialogue with
society. Rabobank International hosted the World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting in
May 2010. This two-day meeting in Utrecht, the Netherlands, was attended by more than
200 delegates, representing cocoa and chocolate-processing companies, cocoa-producing
countries and NGOs, among other attendees.
Sustainable Agri Guarantee Fund (Rabo Agri Fund)
The Rabo Agri Fund issues credit guarantees to local banks as security for loans to cooperatives
and relatively small commodities producers in the food and agribusiness sector that do not yet
qualify for commercial bank loans. Together with Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Development,
the Fund works on offering access to loans in emerging economies in Latin America, Africa
and Asia. In the reporting period, the Fund bolstered its position in Africa, issuing its first
credit guarantee in Tanzania, which was used to fund organic cotton, to Biosustain, one of
the largest organic cotton traders.The Fund shared the risk on the guarantee with National
Microfinance Bank, one of Rabo Development's partner banks.
In addition, the Fund was asked by the Common Fund of Commodities, a partner of
Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Development, and part of the United Nations, to act as
a fund manager in a coffee project in Ethiopia and Rwanda meant in part to promote
sustainability.This project is carried out in collaboration with Rabo Development.The Fund,
which has a presence on three continents, diversifies its activities by not only issuing
guarantees for the more traditional commodities such as coffee, cocoa and cotton, but also
for other products such as sesame, artichokes, chillies and peppers. At year-end 2010, the
Fund had issued guarantees worth about EUR 7.8 (5) million; the portfolio amounted to
more than EUR 2.3 million.
Rabobank finances renewable energy
Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Finance (REIF) is Rabobank International's project
finance department; it funds projects that apply proven technology in the renewable energy
and infrastructure sector. These loans amount to at least EUR 25 million in principle. Focus is
on wind energy, solar energy and biomass applications in OECD countries and, with effect
from the year under review, in India and China.
Project finance in excess of USD 10 million is subject to the Equator Principles. This involves
an assessment of the social and environmental impact of a project by an independent
technical adviser. A risk classification (A, B or C) is then attached to the project based on this
assessment. REIF's portfolio does not contain any transactions that have been classified as A
Wholesale banking and international retail banking