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5 May 2015

Oxfam Australia

Oxfam asks ANZ bank to adopt zero tolerance approach on land grabs

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Oxfam letter to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), 1 May 2015

One year on from the publication of our Banking on Shaky Ground report we write to...update you on developments related to Oxfam’s work on improper land acquisitions in the soft commodity sector and the exposure of the biggest Australian banks. Firstly, we wish to thank your team,...for their engagement with Oxfam on this issue. Secondly, we seek to highlight recent action taken by ANZ’s competitors. Thirdly, we emphasize that ANZ’s exposure to land grabs is systemic and that, as yet, it has not undertaken a systemic response...In 2015 Oxfam will continue to research additional cases of improper land acquisitions and to publish further on this issue. We will continue to work with the financial sector and your competitor banks to support efforts to recognize and respond to the risk of improper land acquisitions. We...hope that ANZ will commit to working with Oxfam to adopt a Zero Tolerance approach for Land Grabs, which we believe is coherent with ANZ CEO Mike Smith’s emphasis on ‘behaving appropriately and doing what is right by our customers, our shareholders, our people and the communities in which we operate…’ While we welcome ANZ’s recent invitation to provide input into its sensitive sector policies review, we reiterate our concern that ANZ does not yet have a sensitive sector policy for either land or agriculture. Until ANZ has clear, detailed commitments on how it respects land rights across its operations the bank continues to face the risk of exposure to improper land acquisitions.