Report examines UBS & Credit Suisse's respect for human rights

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Article
20 July 2011

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Company response
20 July 2011

Response by Credit Suisse: Berne Declaration report alleges that Credit Suisse fails to fulfil corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

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Company response
19 July 2011

UBS response re Berne Declaration report on Swiss banks and human rights

Author: UBS

Berne Declaration's report "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back" is an update to the organization's 2010 report "Without Map or Compass". Our response to "Without Map or Compass" can be downloaded from http://www.business-humanrights.org/Links/Repository/1000721/jump. Since our previous response we furthered strengthened our environmental and social risk management (including human rights) by identifying controversial activities where we will not do business, or only do business under stringent pre-established guidelines...We will continue to assess environmental and social risks in related areas, and will consider adding to the lists, or increasing the stringency of items already on the lists, as we deem necessary...We welcome the UN Human Rights Council's recent endorsement of the "Guiding Principles". As the Guiding Principles do, however, not include direct guidance for the banking sector, we are currently in discussions with a group of banks to jointly develop a better understanding of how the Guiding Principles might be applied to our sector.

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Article
19 July 2011

[PDF] Credit Suisse comment on recent report by Berne Declaration

Author: Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse respectfully disagrees with the criticism leveled against us recently by the Swiss NGO Berne Declaration on the subject of human rights. Credit Suisse is committed to respecting human rights and strives for transparency about its strict policies and processes relating to human rights. The core elements of our commitment to human rights, as well as summaries of our industry-specific policies and guidelines, are published on the bank’s website...Our approach is to implement policies on sensitive industries, and within these industry policies to deal explicitly and directly with issues such as human rights. Credit Suisse acknowledges its responsibility to respect human rights within its sphere of influence...[W]e are currently engaged in discussions with other banks to analyze these recommendations and to ascertain how they might be applied in the banking industry.

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Article
1 July 2011

[PDF] One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Credit Suisse, UBS and Human Rights

Author: Andreas Missbach, Fabian Jucker, Berne Declaration

Based on the work of John Ruggie, UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, and an analysis of financing in high-risk areas, we examined the dealings of both major Swiss banks regarding this important subject. We came to the conclusion that both Credit Suisse and UBS fail to fulfill their corporate responsibility to respect human rights. With this update, the Berne Declaration documents the developments since the publication of the discussion paper. We examine John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles...Finally, we have also updated the research on financing, because what is important regarding “banks and human rights” is not how convincing processes come across on paper, but rather that these processes are implemented in daily business practices, and banks do not contribute to human rights violations in their core business. [also refers to Barrick Gold, Vedanta Resources, PGGM]

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Article
23 May 2011

Vedanta Denies Toxic Waste Leak [India]

Author: Wall Street Journal

On the 16th May, a heavy thunderstorm struck Lanjigarh, Orissa. Red Mud waste from the refinery is stored in a Red Mud Pond which is an earthen pond with sloping dyke walls with a base of 40 M wide and height of about 30M. Work to increase the height of the walls has been ongoing for the last six months. During the rainstorm, the heavy rain caused loose earth from the construction area and the sloping sides to be washed into a local pond. At no time, did the Red Mud waste overflow the dyke...

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Article
27 July 2010

Vedanta rejects Amnesty International claims of human rights abuses [India]

Author: Richard Wachman, Guardian [UK]

Vedanta today dismissed as "incorrect" an Amnesty International report that accused the firm of human rights abuses and damaging the environment. Chief executive MS Mehta claimed Amnesty had "jumped to the wrong conclusions" and that Vedanta was "very strong on sustainable development"…Critics…claim the company has ridden roughshod over the rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe, evicting people without compensation and building an alumina refinery that has leaked effluent into local rivers…[They] oppose its plans to construct a bauxite mine in Orissa's Niyamgiri hills, considered "sacred" by the Kondh…Vedanta says it has improved health and education in Orissa…[and] it is "a myth" that the Kondh will become extinct if an area of the hills is cleared for a new mine.

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Article
10 February 2010

Vedanta strong rebuttal of Amnesty International claims on Lanjigarh aluminium project [India]

Author: Vedanta

We strongly deny any allegations of displacement of Dongria Kondh, pollution by the Aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh or any violation of human rights. We remain fully committed to pursuing all our investments in a responsible manner, respecting the environment and human rights. We work with more than 80 regional, national and international NGOs and with the authorities in India, to ensure all our projects are conducted in compliance with the law and international best practice….In their report on the Lanjigarh project… Amnesty International have directly challenged the credibility and robustness of India's regulatory framework...The Lanjigarh project, whose many facets have been developed by Vedanta with the highest regard for human rights, will deliver significant economic stimulus to the local community.

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Article
8 November 2007

[PDF] Comments by SCIAF, Christian Aid, Action for Southern Africa on Vedanta's response to report on its mining operations in Zambia

Author: Action for Southern Africa, Christian Aid, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund

We were heartened to hear that Vedanta...welcomes the report’s aims of sharing the benefits of development and will pay attention to its recommendations...We welcome your engagement and, in that spirit, would like to respond to your letter by outlining three areas which we felt deserved more consideration in the correspondence.

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