Significant Transitions, Steadfast Progress
The past year reminded us that progress is not a straight path, rather one marked by occasionally rocky roads. Throughout much of 2016, the nation anticipated the outcome of a presidential contest that would play a determining role in U.S. policy in the four years that followed. Among progressives at the grassroots and organizational levels, the election results signaled a shift in federal stance on environmental and social issues and, with it, the imperative for renewed commitments to a livable climate and prosperity for all.
Local land and resource conflicts impacting communities at Standing Rock and in Flint, Michigan went national and global, raising important questions about the role of public voices—particularly those of marginalized communities of color—in determining the health and safety of their communities. The struggle of Native American communities at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline was particularly instrumental in awakening a critical mass of individuals and institutions to the role banks can play in financing a healthy or harmful future. In response, many chose to align their money with their values, moving their accounts from big banks to mission-aligned financial institutions like ours.
Despite the inconsistent tenor of national and global events in 2016, New Resource Bank has remained steadfast in its commitment to people, the planet and prosperity. The bank continues to extend financing to values-driven organizations advancing on their sustainability journeys, and enjoyed milestones that included our tenth anniversary, a fifth consecutive year of profitability and growth, and the opening of a loan production office in Boulder, Colorado—our first office outside of California.
At the end of 2016, our lending portfolio reached 90% investment in organizations representing our key impact areas of environmental protection, health and wellness, education and community empowerment, and sustainable commerce. We also continued to improve measurements of our loan clients’ sustainability thanks to ongoing utilization of B Lab’s Quick Impact Assessment. We were pleased to find that compared to a benchmark of over 24,000 companies, our clients offer more comprehensive health care plans, are more energy efficient, and value diversity, with nearly half of reporting clients indicating that 50 percent or more of their board members or owners are women or individuals from underrepresented communities.
Internally, our employees upheld our values as staff volunteered a cumulative 1,349 hours at places like Boulder Community Health, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, and Goodwill. Our Green Team raised awareness about the fashion industry—second only to the oil industry in polluting—prompting over half of our employees to pledge to purchase less, reuse more, repurpose, and support fair-trade, organic companies, where possible.
The bank received Acterra’s prestigious Business Environmental Award in the “Sustainability” category and was also named one of the 25 top “for benefit” businesses by GameChangers 500 and Conscious Company Magazine. These honors, together with our fifth consecutive year as a “Best for the World” B Corp, serve as important indicators of where we stand on our course toward building the new economy and promoting well-being for people and the planet through banking.
In the wake of the hottest year on record and in the face of social progress yet to be realized locally and globally, we are resolute in our commitment to building a better world through values-driven lending to organizations putting deposits to work for good.
Thank you for your support as we advance on this essential pursuit.