About ASN Bank
ASN Bank was founded in 1960. With a workforce of around 175 people, we are committed to fulfilling our sustainability ambitions and to providing a good service to our customers. Our customer base consists mainly of personal current account holders, savers and investors in the ASN investment funds. We also offer services to self-employed individuals and finance major sustainability projects.
ASN Bank as a member of RBI
ASN Bank, part of the Volksbank NV known for its sustainable profile in banking, joined the REDD+ Business Initiative on 10th January 2019.
CEO Arie Koornneef says, “ASN Bank stands for the preservation of biodiversity, the prevention of global warming and the protection of human rights. For biodiversity we have set the goal that ASN Bank’s loans and investments are to have a net positive impact on biodiversity by 2030. The REDD+ Business Initiative perfectly matches these goals. By protecting the future of tropical rainforests, we protect the most valuable asset of humanity.”
Willem Tielenius Kruythoff, Sustainable Portfolio Manager, comments, “as a portfolio manager I am always looking for great opportunities to contribute to our mission and projects like the Tambopata-Bahuaja Biodiversity Reserve does that in such a great way and is reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.”
For almost 60 years, our mission as a bank has been to foster environmental and social sustainability. We use the money that our customers entrust to us to promote sustainable development. We thus help to create a world that is safe and healthy for people to live in, and where the environment is respected, both in the present and in the future. This complies with the United Nations’ definition: ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
How we practice sustainable banking
We use the money that our customers entrust to us to make forward-looking choices. With the future in mind and with respect for people, living creatures and the planet. We apply the following key principles:
- We check if potential loans and investments meet our sustainability criteria. Only afterwards do we come to a financial decision. Sustainability is thus the norm: we apply strict criteria and assess the policy and conduct of companies and organisations on that basis.
- We use our expertise and our network to make innovative ideas a success. We offer transparent products.
- We are a bank with a low risk profile.
We invest in affordable housing, water management, education, public transport, sustainable energy, health care, and companies and countries that respect human rights and the environment. We do not invest in fossil fuels, child labour, the arms industry, nuclear energy, and countries and companies that violate human rights.
Our sustainability policy clearly states where we lend or invest and where we do not. This policy rests on three pillars: human rights, climate and biodiversity. On that basis, we exercise an influence on sustainable development. For example, by selecting sustainable companies for our investment funds and by entering into a dialogue with companies. And also because we apply sustainability criteria in the case of project finance.
However, we want to go beyond the meticulous selection of investments and loans. As the driving force and promoter behind the sustainable choices of other financial institutions, we can increase our impact even further. In this, we focus primarily on our long-term goals for human rights, climate and biodiversity.
We believe that everyone has the right to education, food and housing. That everyone has the right to free speech. That governments should not use violence against citizens. And we feel that as a bank we can and must help to uphold these rights. We therefore lend the money that customers entrust to us only in countries that observe The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). And we invest in enterprises that take responsibility for the proper treatment of workers and eliminate child labour from their entire chain.
In order to increase our impact further, we have set ourselves a long-term goal for human rights. We are leveraging our influence in order to put pressure on the garment sector to achieve the following goal:
By 2030 the garment sector will have implemented all necessary processes to enable a living wage for workers in its supply chain.
In this context, we have led the way by setting up – together with other parties in the financial sector – the Platform Living Wage Financials.
We are also in an intensive dialogue with the pharmaceutical sector. Many pharmaceutical companies are not sufficiently transparent about their research and development, production, marketing and sale of medicines. We want the conduct of pharmaceutical companies to become more patient-orientated.
Greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, are to blame for the current rapid rise in global warming and consequently for climate change. We think it is important to do as much as we can to reduce these emissions – to ensure a decent quality of life for ourselves and for future generations. All the companies and projects in which we invest or which we finance are assessed on their positive contribution to the climate. We finance sustainable energy and energy conservation. And we set limits on any CO2 emissions that we may indirectly cause through our loans and investments.
To maximise our contribution to the reduction in CO2 emissions, we are the first financial institution in the world to set itself the ambitious long-term goal:
All of ASN Bank’s loans and investments are to be net climate positive by 2030.
In order to take standardised measurements of our climate impact on the financial sector, we took the initiative to set up the Platform Carbon Accounting Financials.
We took the initiative to set up the Platform Carbon Accounting Financials in order to develop, together with other financial institutions, standardised measurements of our climate impact.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms and ecosystems – the habitats in which these living organisms are found, such as forests and seas. Biodiversity is vital to people’s lives. But it is currently in rapid decline. We believe that we must do our utmost to conserve biodiversity and to improve ecosystems.
Our investments and loans are contributing to the loss of biodiversity. We intend to make an end to that loss with our goal:
ASN Bank’s loans and investments are to have a net positive impact on biodiversity by 2030.
To achieve this goal, we intend – as is the case with human rights and climate – to establish a forum in the financial sector in order to protect biodiversity.