An outsider's perspective is always a good thing. It is important to take signals seriously, to learn from them, and to improve where possible. Annually, the Dutch fair bank guide BankWiser compares the country’s leading providers of private current accounts and savings accounts and ranks them for sustainability. BankWiser publishes these results to encourage banks to invest in a more sustainable way. ABN AMRO’s sustainability activities are also assessed in this survey.
ABN AMRO in dialogue with BankWiser
The scores given by BankWiser are the views of six non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the sustainability activities of banks. These views, says ABN AMRO’s Reporting & Engagement spokesperson Daphne Mac Lean, naturally do not always match ABN AMRO’s own views. “As a bank, we want to be as transparent as possible about our situation and our policy. However, we cannot put all our cards on the table with every survey, because in some cases that would compromise the privacy and interests of our clients. Besides, BankWiser often uses its own, subjective criteria, which are stricter - sometimes much stricter - than current laws and generally accepted rules of behaviour. This difference in focus sometimes negatively influences the scores that BankWiser gives based on its analysis of banking practices.”
Difference of opinion
On certain topics, such as climate change and animal well-being, the bank scores low. On these topics, BankWiser has additional requirements which differ from the policy ABN AMRO has chosen. Mac Lean: “Our sustainability motto is ‘a better bank for a better world’. We work hard to achieve that every day and our standards are in line with that motto. Of course we consider BankWiser’s guidelines in writing our policy.”
Importance of privacy
ABN AMRO is transparent – except where the privacy of its clients is at stake. “We are transparent towards all of our stakeholders, including BankWiser. We stay in touch with them and dialogue constructively with them,” says Mac Lean. “So we don’t see low scores in certain areas as an attack on our policy, but it’s always a good thing to keep the conversation going.”
Read this blog by Richard Kooloos, Head Sustainable Developments: Why ABN AMRO should not become another Triodos.