Entrepreneurs expect banks to play active role in respecting human rights

Press release -

Stacked hands

Dutch entrepreneurs consider banks to be the type of company that take responsibility in respecting human rights.

This is the conclusion of a survey commissioned by ABN AMRO. Approximately six in ten entrepreneurs stated that standing up for human rights casts banks in a positive light.

Banks carry a responsibility

For entrepreneurs, human rights are a high priority issue: over eight in ten respondents to the survey flagged the topic as important to them. Of course the first step for a company is to have one's own affairs in order, but that alone is not enough, according to the surveyed entrepreneurs. For instance, they select suppliers who have a reputation of respecting human rights and commit to improving employee working conditions with suppliers in high-risk countries. Entrepreneurs also want to see banks play an active role. Nearly three out of four agree that banks should refuse to provide loans to companies that violate human rights, and naturally also expect banks to respect their own employees' rights. Furthermore, it is important to them that banks offer investment products that have been screened for human rights issues.

UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

ABN AMRO wants to contribute to a better world, and human rights are a central issue in its policies. Starting from 2016, the bank will be the first financial institution in the world that reports in line with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. And ABN AMRO is taking another step in the right direction with the results of the survey published today. To further explore the topic and to start a dialogue with stakeholders, the bank has developed a human rights guide. ABN AMRO Managing Board member Caroline Princen: 'In this guide, we present our vision and commitment towards protecting human rights across the globe. Our promise is to be a better bank that contributes to a better world. To live up to this promise, we need a licence to operate from society. This can be earned by acting ethically and transparently. With regard to human rights, it is paramount for us to know our clients well, and to engage in dialogue about dilemmas. By working together with our clients, employees, and suppliers, we can truly make a difference.' The human rights guide was presented at the second international ABN AMRO human rights conference on 9 December 2015.

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