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7 Nov 2021

OECD Watch

ANZ launches human rights grievance mechanism in a first for the global banking sector

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5 November 2021


[...] Australia’s ANZ Bank launched a Grievance Mechanism Framework  to evaluate and respond to human rights related complaints associated with its corporate lending customers. This precedent-setting move makes ANZ the first large commercial bank in the world to adopt a human rights policy that gives communities harmed by ANZ-financed projects a real path to justice. 

The step follows a recommendation by Australia’s OECD National Contact Point (NCP) in June 2018 that the bank “establishes a grievance resolution mechanism (including publication of outcomes) to support the effective operation of its corporate standards in relation to human rights.” In response to a complaint filed by Equitable Cambodia and Inclusive Development International, the NCP found ANZ had violated its own policies and international human rights standards by financing a Cambodian sugar company that seized land from local farmers. In a conciliation facilitated by the NCP in February 2020, ANZ agreed to establish such a mechanism, while also agreeing to make a financial contribution to help remediate the harms suffered by the Cambodian farmers.