Sustainability has always been at the heart of Rabobank. It is integral to who we are and how we operate.  As a cooperative, we work closely with our customers and local communities to build a sustainable future. We help our business clients to assess environmental, social and economic opportunities and risks, whether they are large corporations or enterprising start-ups.  We offer products and services that contribute to the sustainable development of wealth and prosperity.  We engage in reputable and transparent business.  We are one of the world’s most sustainable banks.

Rabobank’s sustainability efforts are focused around four themes. These address some of the most pressing issues facing our world:

1. Sustainable Food Supply

Feeding the growing population is one of the biggest challenges facing our planet. Issues include reduced availability of agricultural land, climate change, water scarcity and pollution. As a leading bank in the food and agri sector, Rabobank recognises the need to get the balance right between human consumption and nature. That’s why we work with our members, clients and other stakeholders to make food and agribusiness chains more sustainable.

We have developed five Food and Agribusiness Principles:

  • Ensuring enough food is produced using safe production methods
  • Promoting sustainable use of natural resources
  • Advocating social responsibility for public welfare
  • Encouraging ethical treatment of animals
  • Raising public awareness

2. Renewable Energy

At Rabobank, we support innovation that contributes to a cleaner environment. We provide products and services that enable the development of cleaner production methods and renewable energy. These include savings, corporate finance, project finance and investment and asset management. In this way, we try to reduce the burden on natural resources for future generations.

The following examples demonstrate our commitment to renewable energy:

Sustainable horticulture
The Dutch horticulture sector relies on gas to heat greenhouses. High gas prices and low product prices mean flower and vegetable growers struggle to stay viable. Geothermal energy – heat obtained from the earth’s core – is a clean alternative to fossil fuel. However, drilling down into the earth to tap this heat source is expensive. To stimulate growers to switch, Rabobank has partnered with the Dutch government to finance the costs. The government reimburses 85% through a special guarantee fund, and Rabobank pays for a further 10%.

Green power
Rabobank is committed to reducing its own energy consumption. Around 73% of the electricity we use is green. Approximately half our natural gas consumption is renewable biogas. We also compensate for our CO2 emissions.

3. Economic Inclusion

As a cooperative, it is in our character to be inclusive. When it comes to the economy, Rabobank believes everyone should have equal opportunities to participate. This means making financial services accessible to all.

We develop banking services for specific client groups such as young people, the elderly, people with disabilities and entrepreneurs. We also support projects that enhance the independence of disadvantaged groups. In developing countries, we focus our activities on microfinance and developing sustainable production chains for coffee, cotton and cocoa.

Special needs banking
Rabobank has developed various tools that make banking easier for customers with special needs. These include easy-to-understand guides to internet banking on websites for young people and the elderly, and a talking ATM for people with visual impairments.

Diversity and equality
A local Rabobank has joined forces with some 40 private and public partners to promote diversity and equality in a region of the Netherlands. The initiative is run in conjunction with the local municipality, businesses and employment and care organisations. It aims to promote equal job opportunities for everyone within the region, and to help local companies create a more diverse workforce.

4. Community Involvement

Our cooperative roots stretch deep into our local communities. Our members are also our customers, putting them at the very heart of our business. As such, we are actively involved in the communities we serve. We support social groups and projects and encourage our employees to volunteer their time and skills for good causes. We operate social funds, help the disadvantaged and develop commercial banking activities in areas where there are few financial service providers. We do this both in the Netherlands and abroad.

These examples demonstrate our commitment to this community involvement:

Charity donations
Rabobank helps high net worth individuals to donate money to socially-relevant causes. Our Charity Desk helps customers find suitable charities to support. It also offers advice on making donations via annuities or as bequests.

Saving nature
Rabobank has developed a savings account for Dutch business owners who want to support local nature reserves.  Rabobank pays 5% of the interest earned on savings deposited into Rabo Regional Accounts out of its own pocket to two Dutch national parks participating in the initiative.

Sustainable Investment

At Rabobank, we are committed to serving the best interests of our clients. This means developing products that are transparent and easy to understand. We offer all manner of financial services that add sustainable value for clients – and for society as a whole.

We have a track record in financing innovative solutions for environmental issues by opening up businesses’ access to bank guarantees and venture capital. Our climate mortgage, sustainable housing and a credit card that links purchases to offsetting CO2 emissions, are examples of our sustainable products.

Rabobank helps you make responsible investment choices, so you can focus on your returns in the knowledge you are investing in worthwhile ventures that will reap benefits in the years ahead.

Companies developing long-term solutions to environmental challenges are presented to investors through Rabobank’s Sustainable Indices. These offer investment potential in several sustainable sectors: Global energy, healthcare, water, waste management and transport, as well as an opportunity to benefit from all five fast-moving sectors with the Sustainable Multi-Theme Index.

Socially Responsible Investment

As a responsible investor, you are focused not only on returns but also on how these are achieved. You want an investment portfolio that takes into account the planet, people and good governance.

Rabobank can help you make responsible investment decisions. Often, looking beyond profit means making choices about what you invest in. You can choose to exclude certain companies or sectors from your portfolio if they fall short of sustainable or socially responsible criteria. Or you can enter into dialogue with companies to encourage social, environmental or governance changes. This is a commonly used tool that allows investors to take responsibility.

Ethics and Issues

As a responsible bank, we have a duty to ensure we provide financial services to the highest ethical standard, and always act with integrity, never jeopardising our good name. So we choose whom we do business with. We carefully assess social and ethical risks in accordance with society norms and our own stringent guidelines.

Stakeholder Dialogue

We regularly discuss social trends and issues with our stakeholders. This helps our employees to make responsible choices vis-à-vis our services.

We employ different approaches to this dialogue:

  • Engaging in stakeholder consultations with approximately twenty diverse stakeholders from social organisations and associations, politics, science and the business community
  • Actively participating in sector-wide consultations such as the Round Table on Responsible Soy and the Round Table on Sustainable Palmoil, Better Cotton Initiative, Better Sugar Initiative and the Round Table on Sustainable Biofuels
  • Organising discussions with the key stakeholders regarding a specific CSR issue. This can take place at our request or at the request of the related stakeholder.
  • Conducting consultations with the government and making policy proposals concerning social and socio-economic and financial topics in the interest of the customers and members of Rabobank.

Stakeholders of the Rabobank Group
Members and customers are important to us. Our members have influence over our policy. Other key stakeholders are special interest organisations, social organisations and government agencies and, of course, our own employees. This involves, for example, well-respected social organisations that focus on social and environmental issues. These organisations also have a large number of members and supporters and a well-founded opinion on the policy, services and activities of the Rabobank Group.


As a responsible bank, we have a duty to ensure we provide financial services to the highest ethical standard, and always act with integrity, never jeopardising our good name. So we choose whom we do business with. We carefully assess social and ethical risks in accordance with society norms and our own stringent guidelines.

The Ethics Committee performs an advisory role. It is tasked with:

  • Assessing and considering practical situations according to the group’s values and norms
  • Developing jurisprudence and formulating policy and guidelines in the ethical field
  • Publishing deliberations and recommendations to ensure that the ethical standpoint is clear to everyone
  • Strengthening employees’ self-confidence regarding ethical issues
  • Discussing social issues that call for a normative stance from the bank

Working method
The committee has a broad membership in order to ensure that numerous disciplines are represented. The chairmanship is performed by the Chairman of the Executive Board. The committee meets in principle once every six weeks to reach a ruling concerning requests for advice. Cases can also be presented to the committee for review after the facts.

The basic premise for the deliberations is formed by both our own code of conduct and internal guidelines and the external rules of conduct that the bank has committed to observe. Examples include the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines, the ILO Covenants and the UN Global Compact initiative.


Business Operations

Rabobank takes seriously its commitment to sustainable business operations. We don’t just ‘talk the talk’. We integrate sound environmental, social and good governance practices into our everyday activities. Our operations are climate neutral and energy efficient.

Our sustainable business operations comprise four steps:

  • We aim to limit use and consumption
  • We seek to use the things we must use as efficiently as possible
  • We prefer to use sustainable sources/sustainable products and services
  • We compensate the remaining CO2 emissions from our own energy consumption

Climate Neutral

The Rabobank Group operates on a climate-neutral basis.

It is essential that the Rabobank Group not only compensates for its CO2 emissions, but also demonstrably takes action to reduce its CO2 emissions. Rabobank Nederland aims to achieve a reduction of 20% per FTE within the next five years. This is why CO2 reduction targets were established in 2008 for the two divisions that have the greatest impact on the carbon footprint, energy and mobility.

Our policy and targets for achieving sustainable operations are fully in line with the goals formulated by the Dutch government to emit 30% fewer greenhouse gases in 2020, conserve 2% energy annually and generate 20% of all energy from renewable sources in 2020.

Sustainability Procurement

Rabobank acknowledges the importance of sustainability in its procurement processes. By critically examining its procurement policy, Rabobank Group is able to exercise considerable influence on the environmental and social aspects of both the production processes and the products procured.

Paper and Waste Management

A 10% reduction in paper usage at Rabobank Nederland and the local member banks would save 5,500 trees annually. This fact serves as a key stimulus for reducing paper usage within our organisation

Sustainable Construction

  • Limit the demand for construction materials, space, energy and water
  • Use infinite resources, such as wood bearing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) quality mark
  • Use finite resources that are recyclable

The aim is to construct one of the most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands.

Cold storage forms a standard part of new construction and renovation projects in Utrecht and Best.

Sustainable Mobility

The Rabobank Group is committed to making a visible contribution to the mobility issue. Our mobility policy is founded on three core principles: reducing, avoiding and greening.

Reducing by driving/travelling fewer kilometers. Avoiding by steering clear of rush hours, travelling at other times or working from home. Greening by encouraging employees to commute to and from work by bicycle or public transport. We recently made the ABC lease car scheme we introduced in 2005 even greener. The labels have now been replaced by norms based on actual CO2 emissions.

Employees drive fuel-efficient lease cars
The new lease scheme provides an incentive for employees to select smaller and more energy-efficient cars. This is because if an employee opts for a more energy-efficient car that is less than his or her lease budget, he or she will receive the difference with the allowed lease budget in monthly payments. Each lease car driver is also issued an NS Business Card that allows him or her to choose to travel by train.

The New Way of Working
Working ‘unplugged’ likewise promotes more sustainable mobility behaviour. The core principle behind working ‘unplugged’ is that employees are free to decide every day their optimum working location and method and to select the corresponding form of transportation. This means it is sometimes more convenient to catch the train, other times more sensible to travel by bike and in other instances wiser to travel by car. Working from home can also be an option. Technology has now advanced to the stage that conference calls and video meetings are easy to arrange. The employee consequently has complete freedom of choice.

Water Management

Around 70% of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture – often in unsustainable ways. As a leading bank in the food and agri sector, Rabobank is convinced there should be a healthy balance between the economic, social and ecological effects of our activities.

Our commitment to water
This way of thinking is also reflected in the themes of our CSR strategy:  making food and agri chains more sustainable, encouraging new production methods and using renewable energy. In each of these, water is a critical element. Rabobank must – and does – take water very seriously.

We also see real business opportunities in water. The need for innovation and new technologies has opened up a growing market worth around USD 500 mln a year.  Most of the potential lies in newly-industrialised countries, which will need almost half the world’s additional water requirements.

Rabobank’s priorities
Rabobank’s water strategy is based on financing opportunities in water and mitigating water risks within our loan portfolio. Our five priorities are:

  • Financing irrigation and efficient water use for existing customers in our main international food & agri markets
  • Financing wastewater and desalination projects for agriculture and industries in priority markets
  • Financing start-up companies in water technology in Europe and the US
  • Financing water projects through the Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Development
  • Calculating water risks in the credit analysis of our loans and investment portfolio

When it comes to water, Rabobank offers a wide range of banking activities and products. These include vendor lease, project finance, equity finance and financial advice. We focus on business opportunities such as financing sustainable water technologies and relevant start-up companies. We seek to strike a balance between commercial and non-commercial activities, with emphasis on financing water projects via the Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Development.


Outside of the Netherlands, the Rabobank Foundation primarily supports micro-financing organisations and farmers’ cooperatives. We are active in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin-America.

Our core focus is on microfinance and sustainable chain development and, to a lesser degree, on providing small-scale donations, technical assistance and guarantees to local banks.

Microfinance: a powerful instrument

Microfinance is proven to help disadvantaged people to get ahead. It encompasses small loans, savings schemes and insurance. Micro credit can provide the necessary capital to start up a small business. Savings provide a buffer against adversity. And micro insurance protects small businesses against big risks. Ninety percent of microloans are repaid.

In traditional microfinance, investment in agriculture often falls behind, whereas there are in fact many opportunities for farmers to raise their income through targeted investments. This is why the Rabobank Foundation focuses on producer cooperatives that are used to fund local agricultural chains.

Sustainable chain development

We also help farmers and cooperatives to adopt sustainable ways of farming, processing and distributing products such as coffee, cocoa, fruit and cotton. This includes organic cultivation, fair trade and transparent governance. We not only measure financial performance, but also social performance, and the extent to which cooperatives involve their members and clients.

Food and Agribusiness

Although idealistic motives drove the establishment of our farmers’ cooperative a century ago, realism characterises our way of working as a 21st century global leading bank. Our values, focus on the food and agribusiness (F&A) sector, and dedicated mentality have not changed over time. Our F&A clients remain at the heart of our international proposition.

Financial Link Food and Agribusiness Chain

As the leading global food & agribusiness (F&A) bank, we can add value to your business as a player in the F&A chain.

No matter whether you are:

  • a primary producer seeking credit for crop development,
  • a global trader who wants to cover commodity risks,
  • an investor seeking opportunities to profitably invest in F&A funds or
  • a processor with ambitions to expand internationally

our unparalleled global strength, financial expertise and local in-depth knowledge are there to support you in getting a deeper understanding of your business opportunities and challenges.

We will build a solid relationship that you will not find with any other bank. Rabobank is a bank with a clear focus; our clients in the food & agribusiness.

Within all major food and agribusiness sectors, we offer financial support, an international network, solid products and services, and our rich sector knowledge.

Together you are stronger

Be it corporate advisory, funding, or risk management, we can provide you with a wide range of financial services and products that you may need as a company operating in food and agribusiness.

Our experienced staff works closely together with global colleagues in complementary areas such as, advisory and financial markets, to gather a deep understanding of your business and financial needs. We are then best able to advise the most appropriate, tailored solution. In some cases, we will join forces with partners.

What does this mean for you?
This means our bank can support you in all major areas of financial business, in the major food and agribusiness countries worldwide, via local Rabobank offices and at times, together with our international operating partners.

With our client’s targets and ambitions as the starting point, we will advise products and services that generate the foundation on which to further build their business continuity. With our F&A origins and expertise, we understand that your business can have good years and not-so-good years. Nonetheless our ambition is to support you in all seasons. This is essential to a continual relationship  based on dialogue, respect and consistency

Knowledge Benefit

The expertise and knowledge of Rabobank’s people is key to our understanding of the whole value chain, from primary outputs through to end products. This in turn enables us to help create sustainable long-term value for our clients.

Rabobank demonstrates an active approach to both acquiring and distributing knowledge  through a number of industry leading initiatives. These include global research, strategic industry advisory bodies and primary producer business management programs.

We are able to provide you with benefits that go far beyond traditional banking services. Because of our expertise, we not only look at how we can be of service to you today, but we also look to the future, something that is of vital importance, especially in the food and agribusiness industry. What developments will we see in a year? Or in five years? Where can you expect growth? Where are the opportunities? What network do you need? Are you looking for partners? Or do you want to exchange experiences on corporate social responsibility issues that are relevant to your business?

We will make the analyses and provide you with the data and outlook you need. And through our broad international network, we can connect you with the right partners.

Banking with Rabobank means that you are part of a large, internationally operating food and agribusiness community.

Customer and Social Value

We attach great value to having and keeping satisfied customers. Rabobank is critical of itself and is keen to learn from its clients as to what we do well and what could be improved. Because of this, we have enjoyed a noticeably high level of customer loyalty for many years.

Our clients can expect clear answers and solutions from us, given to you by our dedicated and experienced personnel who know you, your business and your operating environment, best. Rabobank respects the culture and traditions of all countries without losing sight of our own objectives and values.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an explicit strategic choice for Rabobank Group. CSR is applied in all core activities of its financial services as well as in its business operations. In order to explain how we operate in the F&A market, we have formulated five F&A Principles:

1. Aiming for food safety and food security
2. Using natural resources responsibly
3. Promoting social welfare
4. Treating animals responsibly
5. Contributing to enabling citizens and consumers to make well-considered choices

We believe that sustainable growth and well-being requires careful nurturing of natural resources and the living environment. F&A stakeholders such as yourself have always understood the delicate balance between water, soil and weather. With this in mind, our aim is to finance and support initiatives in clean technology as renewables are important to our core client base.

Food & Agribusiness Principles

Climate change, scarcity of raw materials, environmental pollution and the rapidly growing world population are set to have a strong compound effect on each other in the decades ahead. As a global food & agribusiness bank, Rabobank views it as its responsibility to help find the required sustainable solutions.

It is an established fact that the food & agribusiness chains can only be transformed into sustainable value chains if all the involved parties, including banks, customers, members and stakeholders, join forces and work together. This is why Rabobank has formulated five directional Food & Agribusiness Principles. These principles can play a key role in making food & agribusiness chains more sustainable and contributing to food security. The principles are:

1. Aiming for food safety and food security.
Experts expect that global food production will have to be doubled by around 2050 in order to feed the growing world population. The first priority of food & agribusiness chains is to feed the world at a reasonable price with products that are not harmful to the health of people and animals.

2. Using natural resources responsibly.
In order to ensure the continuity of food production, issues such as soil degradation and erosion and soil and surface water pollution must be prevented. Available water must be used carefully, overfishing must be avoided and valuable nature reserves must be protected.

3. Contributing to enabling citizens and consumers to make well-considered choices.
Food & agribusiness companies can provide consumers with better information about the origins of products. This will enable consumers to make more conscious choices. Sustainable production methods will be encouraged as the demand for sustainable products increases.

4. Treating animals responsibly.
The treatment of animals by cattle farmers, fish farmers, cattle dealers and cattle transporters must comply with the prevailing legal and ethical standards in society.

5.Promoting social welfare.
The food & agribusiness chains can only be sustainable when the social welfare and environment of the people working within these chains are protected. This entails matters including eradicating corruption, discrimination, human rights violations, forced labour, harmful child labour and poor working conditions.