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25 Nov 2022

Qatar 2022: Report examines investments in construction & hotel sectors in emirate, issues recommendations to financial institutions on engaging with clients & investees on labour rights; incl co. responses


Ahead of the Qatar World Cup, Fair Finance International commissioned a report on the human and labour rights risks of financial institutions' interest in two sectors central to and which have profited hugely from the tournament - construction and hotels. The report is a joint product from Amnesty Norway, Framtiden i våre hender, Facing Finance and Fair Finance International. It explores the prevalence of labour abuse experienced by migrant workers involved in these sectors had to endure, including non-payment of wages, curtailed movement and extortionate recruitment fees. The report highlights that infrastructure necessary for the hosting of the World Cup would not have been possible if it weren't for the inflow of funds from financial institutions, and places a responsibility on these institutions to manage the human rights risks associated with their investments.

The report authors identified financial institutions involved the financing of and investments in a selection of eight construction companies and eight hotel brands active in Qatar, as well as in investments in Qatari sovereign bonds. The report highlights that European institutions in particular, play a major role in these financial relationships, providing almost half of the identified financing; the authors also surveyed 11 institutions active in Germany and Norway on their engagement with clients and investees on the topic of labour right. The report includes recommendation for financial institutions to better manage and address the human rights risks linked to their business relationships.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out to the European financial institutions named in the top 30 identified financiers and top 30 investors of construction and hospitality companies active in Qatar and sovereign bonds of Qatar, to invite them to respond to the report and its recommendations. We received responses from: Allianz, AXA, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, DNB, Groupe BPCE, KLP, Natwest, NBIM, Nordea, Standard Chartered and Storebrand. HSBC, DZ Bank and Societe Generale did not respond.

Following the publication of a report from Fair Finance International, Norwegian bank DNB announced they had sold their shares in Accor, citing an increased risk of contributing to violations of human rights and labour rights in Qatar, as reported by NRK. Norges Bank also disclosedit had engaged with Vinci and Hilton Hotels over the issue. In December, AP Pension stated it no longer invests in Vinci, which is facing allegations of labour abuse from NGOs.

Company Responses

Deutsche Bank View Response
Commerzbank View Response
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) View Response
Danske Bank View Response
Allianz View Response
Nordea Bank View Response
Barclays View Response
Storebrand View Response
KLP Asset Management View Response
Royal Bank of Scotland View Response

No Response

Société Générale

No Response

BNP Paribas View Response
Crédit Agricole View Response
Credit Suisse View Response
Groupe BPCE View Response

No Response