BankTrack report finds banks not yet living up to human rights obligations under UN Guiding Principles

In December 2014 BankTrack released a new report titled "Banking with Principles?". The report assesses 32 of the largest global banks against the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  Banks were assigned a score of between 0 and 12 depending on their performance against 12 criteria. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre contacted the banks that had not replied to BankTrack during the drafting of the report to ask them to respond in December 2014.  

BBVA, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Santander, Citi, Rabobank, Goldman Sachs, Mitsui Sumitomo, Crédit Agricole.  BBVA, Barlcays, Santander, Citi, Rabobank, Mitsui Sumitomo responded.  We did not receive responses from Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs or Crédit Agricole.

The Resource Centre also invited 4 other companies criticised in the report to respond: Bumi Resources, Tata Power, APRIL and Corriente Resources.  These companies were alleged by BankTrack to be involved in projects that banks should have financed.

 

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10 February 2015

APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources Intl. Limited) response to BankTrack rejoinder

Author: APRIL

Upon invitation from Business and Human Rights Resource Center to respond to the second round of allegations circulated by BANKTRACK, we would like to reiterate the following...We note BANKTRACK’s comment that our first response did not address resolution of conflicts in areas where we operate. We invite BANKTRACK to reread our response...Further, we wish to respond to the following....

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Company response
29 January 2015

BBVA response

Author: BBVA

BBVA is fully committed to responsible banking through a business model based on the principles of integrity, transparency and prudence, which govern all our policies and conduct, being its priorities promoting a transparent, clear and responsible communication to ensure that customers always understand the products and services they buy, promoting financial literacy and developing products and services with a high social impact...

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NGO rejoinder
25 January 2015

BankTrack rejoinder to APRIL response

Author: BankTrack

This response does not dispute the claims in our report (sourced from a 2001 Friends of the Earth briefing), nor does it give any indication that the land conflicts have been solved since this report was produced in 1997. Although we do not know the present amount of land under dispute with local communities, as the company has obtained more concessions since then, and as numerous other social conflicts have since emerged, the current number may well be much higher....

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Company response
23 January 2015

Barclays response

Author: Barclays

I can confirm that we sent BankTrack details of Barclys' policies and disclosures when they informed us that they were conducting this research, including our Group Statement on Human Rights which was first published in 2004. Since then Barclyas has been a laeading participant in both sectorial and cross-sectorial initiatives focusing on the corporate responsibility to respect and uphold human rights ....

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Company non-response
15 January 2015

Morgan Stanley did not respond

Company non-response
8 January 2015

Wells Fargo did not respond

Wells Fargo declined to respond to the Resource Centre concerning the BankTrack report.

Company response
8 January 2015

Santander response

Author: Santander

Banco Santander  counts with policies, regulations and internal codes governing the position of Santander in compliance with ethical, social and environmental principles. It operates its financial business through a strong commitment to respect and promote human rights.Specifically, since 2010, Santander has a specific policy on Human Rights which formalizes the Bank's commitment to human rights, an area in which Santander has acted in accordance with the highest international standards, such as the UN Norms for Business Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ten principles of the Global Compact of the United Nations organization that Santander is a signatory partner since 2002...

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Company response
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7 January 2015

Respuesta de Santander

Author: Santander

Santander cuenta con políticas, normativas y códigos internos que rigen la posición del Santander en el cumplimiento de los principios éticos, sociales y ambientales. Banco Santander desarrolla su actividad financiera a través de un firme compromiso en el respeto y en la promoción de los derechos humanos.Concretamente, desde 2010, Santander cuenta con una política específica en Derechos Humanos que formaliza el compromiso del Banco con los derechos humanos, ámbito en cual Santander cumple con los más altos estándares internacionales, como son las Normas de la ONU para las Empresas en Derechos Humanos, las Líneas Directrices de la OCDE para Empresas Multinacionales, y los diez principios del Pacto Mundial de Naciones Unidas, organización de la que Santander es socio firmante desde el año 2002.

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Company response
7 January 2015

Citi response

Author: Citi

Citi is a long-standing leader on human rights issues in the banking industry, and respect for human rights is critical to our vision of enabling our customers, clients and global communities to make progress. Citi’s leadership has been acknowledged by external stakeholders; for example, in the recent BankTrack “Banking with Principles” report, Citi received the highest score of any U.S.-based bank, and the Human Rights Campaign has awarded Citi a perfect score of “100” in its annual Corporate Equality Index. We are proud of Citi’s record, and I am happy to provide you with more information on our human rights related policies and approach...

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Company response
7 January 2015

Rabobank response

Author: Rabobank

As a response to the report, we appreciate the acknowledgement in the report of some of our policy levels as being leading in the field. Rabobank is transparent about its human rights policy and follows the GRI reporting principles and criteria to report on its human rights impacts, where relevant.