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Banking as if Society Mattered: The Case of Triodos Bank

Katrin Dr. Käufer, January 2011

Summary :

As intermediaries between borrowers and lenders, banks hold a unique position

in an economic system, and in society in general.

The role of financial institutions becomes apparent when governments intervene to save banks in crisis because their failure would put the economic system, and with that society, at risk. Socially responsible

and green banks operate on the assumption that this unique position

provides them with a leverage for addressing social and/or environmental

challenges.

While the current public discussion focuses on how to regulate financial

institutions so that the negative externalities of their operation can

be reduced, this case study presents an example for a socially responsible

and green bank, Triodos Bank, based in the Netherlands, and explores

the potential role of banks in addressing societal challenges.

The case study is based on interviews with Triodos executives and co-­‐workers

throughout the organization, with customers, on participant observation,

and on a review of the bank’s work and publications.

Sources :

Website of MIT Colab web.mit.edu/colab/about.html