In the picture: human rights course at Circl

For many of us, the term “human rights” evokes war-torn or faraway countries. But human rights violations can occur closer to home, too. The human rights course teaches staff where the bank stands and what its longer-term objectives are.


Lasting about two and a half hours, the first human rights course for ABN AMRO staff was held at Circl on 13 November. The thirty-five participants attending learned all about the bank’s position on this important subject. Over 100 relationship managers in Singapore and Amsterdam attended the course in 2017.


Whether it’s about privacy, diversity as it relates to staff and potential clients, LGBT rights, involvement with clients, the Dakota Access Pipeline, labour exploitation in the transport sector, investing in the tobacco industry or the work of the Ethics Committee, human rights have an impact on all the bank’s operations. Raising awareness of human rights at the bank is crucial, since it’s that awareness that will then empower us to act.


Ruben Zandvliet, Marijn de Haas and Herma van der Laarse took the participants on a tour of the bank’s world of sustainability over the course of the session. Questions they explored included, Why does ABN AMRO place a premium on human rights? Can banks actually keep human rights from being violated? How do we safeguard these rights on the job? And what can individual employees do? Real-life cases were used to look at how the participants, too, can ensure human rights are respected in their day-to-day work.


The next course will be given on 5 February 2018. This year, the course is being given every quarter. Members of senior management are also scheduled to take the course. In addition to the human rights course, the Sustainable Banking Team offers the Fifty Shades of Green basic course and knowledge sessions.