ABN AMRO no longer to contribute to new research for the Fair Bank Guide

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Today, the Dutch Banking Association announced that eight banks in the Netherlands, including ABN AMRO, will no longer contribute to new studies by the Fair Bank Guide. The quality of the research by the Guide falls too short for it to issue any robust opinions. The banks feel that no progress has been made in the past few years, with facts and views continuing to mix in its studies. What the Fair Bank Guide presents as objective research is in fact its own view and does not give a fair picture of the state of affairs in the industry.

“Sustainability is as important as ever to ABN AMRO. Our products and services have an impact on the society we are part of and we accept the responsibility that goes with it,” says Richard Kooloos, Director of Sustainable Banking at ABN AMRO. “That’s why sustainability plays such a big part in our strategy. We are achieving results in areas such as circularity and sustainability, human rights and social enterprise. Of course, we aim to continuously improve our policies and their implementation. But for now we won’t be doing so by contributing to new research by the Fair Bank Guide.” 

Since the Fair Bank Guide was launched in 2009, ABN AMRO has devoted a great deal of time and effort to responding to questions from researchers and providing additional information towards the various analyses of the Guide. This has used up a lot of time on the part of our workforce – time that we can now spend on contributing to the bank’s sustainability policies in a different way.

Quality of research at Fair Bank Guide not up to scratch

The press release issued by the Dutch Banking Association today [link] notes the lack of improvement in the quality of the Fair Bank Guide’s research over the past years. Within the Association, the Guide’s quality and quantity of research had been an issue for quite some time. In the last three years, such research is supposed to have been monitored by an independent academic, appointed to this position on the recommendation of the Fair Bank Guide. The banks feel that, in terms of quality, no progress has been made in these years, with facts and view hard to separate and the Guide not presenting a fair take on what’s happening in the industry. What’s more, the Guide has ignored the suggestions for improvement made by the independent academic.

One-to-one collaboration

The banks continue to support the basic intentions of the Fair Bank Guide – to make banks’ sustainability policies and performance more transparent and easier to compare. On a one-to-one basis, ABN AMRO does cooperate with the organisations behind the Fair Bank Guide: Amnesty International, FNV, Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie), Oxfam Novib, PAX and World Animal Protection. In fact, these contacts are frequent and often take place in a more constructive setting. We will of course continue such collaboration.

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