The finance and banking sector plays a vital role in the world’s economy. For example, the world gross domestic product is valued at $79 trillion. (2017 figures, IMF), while the value of shares trading on stock exchanges is $78.2 trillion, almost equating the total amount of goods and services provided around the world. These numbers demonstrate that the finance and banking sector can exert substantial influence over the global economy, including on aspects related to human rights.
Finance and banking institutions can contribute both directly and indirectly to adverse human rights impacts. Examples of direct impacts include: entire lending institutions denying customers access to finance based on race, religion, or gender; a pension fund investing in a food and beverage company that systematically buys produce from farms using child labour; the management of assets belonging to a corporate or individual client involved in human rights abuses; or investing in a company that buys or uses prospected minerals in countries undergoing conflict. Financial instruments may also cause human rights violations indirectly by lending money to agricultural companies involved in land grabs and funding infrastructure projects that displace indigenous populations. (UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises).
An informal group of bank representatives called the “Thun Group of Banks” has published two discussion papers on their interpretation of the UN Guiding Principles and what they mean for banks in practice. While these voluntary efforts have been applauded, their 2017 discussion paper on UN Guiding Principles 13 and 17 in a corporate and investment banking context has been criticised for misconstruing the central Guiding Principle regarding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (Comments by Professor John Ruggie) by asserting that banks, by definition, do not contribute to harm except through their own activities, such as employment practices.
In 2019, the OECD published key considerations for banks implementing the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The paper is called Due Diligence for Responsible Corporate Lending and Securities Underwriting and explains what due diligence for responsible business conduct entails. It also provides practical considerations for banks at each step of the due diligence process.+ Read more
Guiding Principle 13 states that the responsibility to respect human rights requires that business enterprises:
(a) Avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities, and address such impacts when they occur;
(b) Seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts”.
This implies three categories of business involvement in adverse human rights impacts: a) through a business’s own activities, b) by contributing to harm caused by a third party, and c) where a business ‘neither causes nor contributes but its operations, products or services are directly linked through its business relationships to the harm’. The Thun Group’s position collapses a priori the first two, which fails to recognise that banks can be faced with situations reflecting all three types of business involvement highlighted by the GP.
The responsibility to respect human rights also extends to international development finance organisations such as the World Bank, International Finance Cooperation (IFC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment bank (EIB), and investment funds operated by national governments (see Development finance institutions).
Publications such as the OECD’s Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional Investors and Scope and Application of ‘Business Relationships’ in the Financial Sector Under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OHCHR response to BankTrack and the Equator Principles offer guidance on how financial institutions can integrate human rights into their business strategies. Guidance is also offered by NGOs such as BankTrack and BankWatch that monitor the activities of banks and funds. Multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement can also be an important source of learning for banks committed to improving their performance with respect to human rights due diligence.
In addition, in 2013 UN Women published a gender analysis of banking sector policies, financial products and services in India. Select banking sector policies were reviewed to identify barriers women face while accessing financial support and the appropriateness of financial products for women’s empowerment. Methods to draw gender responsive indicators for effective monitoring and select innovations for women’s economic empowerment, national and global, were closely studied.
The operations of the finance and banking sector relate to the Means of Implementation (SDG 17) of the SDGs. These are a mix of enablers of financial resources to support the implementation of all SDGs. Together they provide a framework, or toolbox, that is needed if the SDGs are to be realised by 2030. They also relate to SDG targets 8.10 on strengthen “the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all” as well as SDG target 16.6 on developing “effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels”.
Mobilisation of “adequate and well-directed” financing is identified as one of the 10 commitment areas outlined in response to the identified need to “do more, and faster” to achieve the SDGs in the 2019 Political Declaration of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). In particular the Declaration highlights that to “close the financing gap for the Sustainable Development Goals, Governments, the private sector and other stakeholders need to increase the level of ambition in domestic, public and private resource mobilization, strengthen the enabling environment for sustainable investments and deliver on commitments to international development cooperation.” The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has estimated that at current rates, there is an annual financing gap of around US$2.5 trillion if the SDGs are to be achieved.
Given that the SDGs are grounded in human rights, due diligence for responsible business conduct in this context is critical.
8) Decent Work and Economic Growth
17) Partnerships For The Goals
What National Action Plans say on Finance & banking sector
Action point 11
Ensure better coordination between federal and regional authorities in order to integrate criteria relating to human rights and socially responsible entrepreneurship in public aid
Assurer une meilleure coordination entre les autorités fédérales et régionales afin d’intégrer des critères relatifs aux droits de l’Homme et à l’entrepreneuriat socialement responsable dans les aides publiques
The NAP explains that Finexpo, an inter-ministerial consultative committee managed by the Administration of Foreign Affairs, studies the files of companies and/or banks requesting public support for an export credit and issues an opinion to the Council of Ministers, which takes the final decision on the granting of the aid. The NAP states that “regarding Finexpo, it will be necessary to modify the official questionnaire… in order to introduce references to the promotion of human rights, and to corporate social responsibilities that go beyond issues on the environmental impact, which are already included in the questionnaire…”
Action point 12
Pursuing Belgium’s commitment and its pioneering role in the field of human rights at the international level
The NAP briefly mentions that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure, through its various coordination mechanisms in the preparation of the positions of Belgium and EU in organizations or international assemblies, including the World Bank, to ensure that the latter take into account the respect for and promotion of human rights in the exercise of their activities.
Pillar 2: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights
Strand 2: Promotion of Corporate Due Diligence in the Field of Human Rights
Action Point 2.2 (page 56)
The Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism will: …
- Look to generate strategic alliances with banking institutions to facilitate access to financial services to cooperatives -which projects integrate an actual and potential analysis of the contribution and impact that the business may have on human rights. …
`The Colombia NAP does not explicitly address this issue’
The Czech NAP makes no explicit reference to Finance and banking, although the Financial Arbitrator is highlighted within the Alternative and online dispute resolution section [page 49].
Appendix 1, GP 4
Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 28]
“In 2008 the state financing fund, Vækstfonden, has committed to adhere to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The Export Credit Agency (EKF), the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and Investment Fund for Central and Eastern Europe) (IØ) has committed to join the UN Global Compact.
[The Export Credit Agency (EFK)]’s Environmental & Social Due Diligence Policy states that EKF is committed to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights. EKF has also committed to the Equator Principles. These are binding international standards and frameworks for project funding. This ensures that private institutions and banks assess the environmental and social responsibility through a common set of guidelines. EKF works to promote the Equator Principles internationally, especially to institutions in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). EKF uses International Finance Corporations (IFC) Performances Standards when rating a project which EKF participates in. The IFC Performances Standards mainly covers labor rights but human rights are also covered. …
As part of the approval process, Danida Business Finance analyses potential human rights related risks including local legislation and policies and other CSR issues. Access to finance is based on buyer’s and exporter’s compliance with ILO principles on human and workers’ rights. When Danida signs contracts with companies, it is a requirement that companies live up to Danida’s anti-corruption policy and to the UN Global Compact. A description of the applicant’s approach to quality assurance and how it will comply with Danida’s anti-corruption code of conduct and the principles of the UN Global Compact during implementation are requested from pre-qualified tenderers and form part of the tender evaluation.”
Appendix 1, GP 7
Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 30]
“Danida Business Partnerships provides financial support for the implementation of CSR partnerships and CSR initiatives in a range of Denmark’s partner countries. As part of the approval process, Danida Business Finance analyses potential human rights related risks including local legislation and policies and other CSR issues. Access to finance is based on buyer’s and exporter’s compliance with ILO principles on human and workers’ rights.”
Appendix 1, GP 9
Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 31]
“The EU adheres to principles and standards on responsible business conduct such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which is also reflected in negotiations for free trade agreements that includes the area of investment. The guidelines are considered the reference document on Corporate Social Responsibility, including human rights, intended to balance the rights and obligations between investors and host states. Furthermore, it is common practice to reference in the mandate the right of the parties to adopt and enforce measures necessary to pursue legitimate public policy objectives such as social, environmental, human rights, security, public health and stability of the financial systems in a non-discriminatory manner”
Appendix 1, GP 10
Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 33]
“… Denmark has been instrumental in the establishment of the World Bank’s Nordic Trust Fund which aims to promote the application of the human rights framework in World Bank policies and operations. Denmark has also been active in promoting that The International Finance Cooperation (IFC) actively supports its clients in addressing human rights risks and impacts. Furthermore, human rights are reflected in trade agreements.”
The Finnish NAP makes no direct reference to the finance or banking sector.
I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights
The International Framework
Actions Underway [page 16]
- France actively contributes to OECD activities in the field of responsible business conduct, particularly its work on due diligence (in the textile and finance sectors) and reinforcing the OECD Guidelines to mark their 40th anniversary (from June 2016 onwards).
The National Framework
15. Economic Sectors and Human Rights
The Financial Sector [page 35]
Given the financial sector’s importance in providing loans, managing assets and financing projects, it has a duty to promote the adoption of responsible management practices by the companies it finances or invests in, especially in the human rights field.
In France, these activities represent €1.063 trillion in loans21 (including €303 billion to large businesses), more than €3 trillion in assets managed for third parties22 (including €900 billion invested in businesses) and several hundred billion euros in financing for large projects. The leverage effect is therefore considerable. In a statement dated 27 May 2013, the OECD’s Norwegian NCP specified that like other enterprises, investors are expected to comply with due diligence requirements recommended by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises regarding the respect and protection of human rights including in relation to minority shareholdings. The OECD also set up a multi-stakeholder Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct in finance, and developed recommendations to support the implementation of the Guidelines in this sector. France monitored this work closely. Recommendations on responsible business conduct for investors have been established.
One of the instruments France has implemented for businesses is increased transparency by way of non-financial reporting requirements.
There have been a number of voluntary international initiatives by the financial sector to promote human rights (the Equator Principles,26 UNEP Finance Initiative, the development of Socially Responsible Investment, and the Global Compact). However, France has implemented a regulatory framework that is relatively unique in that some of its provisions specifically target this sector (the Grenelle II Act of 12 July 2010).
Actions Underway [page 36]
- France promotes, at the national and European levels, investment policies that incorporate due diligence and highlight the principles and practices of institutional investors.
- France promotes initiatives and commitments by the financial sector, particularly those based on the Equator Principles and the Thun Group.
- France is examining whether to extend environmental, social and governance reporting requirements for institutional investors in Europe to cover human rights.
II- Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights
3. Risk Analysis and Impact Assessments [page 40]
The NAP cites the Ecuador Principles in the list of existing tools available at the sectoral level.
There is no mention of the finance and banking sector in the Business and Human Rights Chapter of the Georgian Human Rights NAP.
III. Federal Government expectations regarding corporate due diligence in respecting human rights
Procedure for the identification of actual and potential adverse impacts on human rights [page 9-10]
“The consideration of potentially adverse impacts on human rights is a continuous task that accompanies work processes and, in particular, is performed with a sectoral focus. It should take place when new divisions, products or projects are launched as well as in the context of existing business activities. When potential risks are examined, a distinction must be made between the following types of impact: …
- those connected indirectly with the enterprise through its business relations, its business activity or its products or services even though no direct contractual relationship exists, for example in situations involving numerous intermediary dealers. Granting loans, issuing credit lines and providing other financial services to other banks, insurers or other financial service providers do not in themselves constitute a relationship in the above sense if those transactions cannot be unambiguously attributed to a particular business activity in the real economy.”
1.1 Basic rules of economic policy
Development policy [page 19-20]
The current situation
“With their environmental and social standards, international financial institutions such as the World Bank and regional development banks set benchmarks for environmental and social regulation. The Federal Government will continue to track the reform processes in international financial institutions with a view to ensuring that their operations are even more sharply focused on human rights.”
- “The requirements set out in the UN Guiding Principles and in the National Action Plan, in particular in its chapter III, on due diligence with regard to human rights, also apply to the organisations that implement development policy, including bodies that provide financing for development. They also serve as a basis for further assessment and monitoring and, where appropriate, further development of the grievance procedures that state implementing organisations, including financing bodies, have already established.
- In addition, the Federal Government will continue to track the reform processes in international financial institutions with a view to ensuring that their operations are more sharply focused on human rights.”
1.3 State support
Export credits, investment guarantees and other instruments for the promotion of external trade [page 23]
“The instruments of external-trade promotion in Germany provide assistance for German enterprises in accessing and safeguarding foreign markets. The range of instruments includes the provision of advice by German diplomatic and consular missions, the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and the Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) agency. The Federal Government also supports participation in trade fairs abroad, arranges visits by delegations and funds hedging instruments such as export credit guarantees, known as Hermes guarantees, to insure export transactions, federal guarantees for direct investments abroad (DIAs) and untied loan guarantees as insurance for banks against the risk of default.”
Annex 1 – List of additional and ongoing actions to be carried out across Government
Trade and Investment [page 21]
“19. Ensure awareness of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance standards among state owned companies that invest in or manage projects, outside of OECD high income countries, which exceed the euro equivalent of US$10 million.”
B. Operational Principles
- Support the National Dialogue on Sustainable Finance led by the UNEP Inquiry with the Ministry of Environment, and involving major banks, insurances and institutional investors as well as their associations and policy makers.
Guiding Principle 27
… An Italian non-judicial grievance mechanism is Banking and Financial Ombudsman (ABF) created in 2009 and active since 2010 through its Panels in Milan, Rome and Naples (panels are likely to be established soon in other major towns). In the course of its mandate the ABF has extended the concept of ‘customers’ to cover individuals affected by the action of an intermediary even if the parties were not bound by contract. ABF expanded its functions to deal also with pre-contractual obligations in order to protect individuals claiming that intermediaries violated the obligations of good faith – which bind the parties to adopt fair behavior while negotiating.
Italy’s Update NAP
Guiding Principle 27
The Banking and Financial Ombudsman has competence over disputes between customers and banks and other financial intermediaries, concerning banking and financial transactions and services. In the course of its mandate, the use of ABF is significantly increased as an efficient instrument that contributes to reducing case backlogs on courts and fosters transparency of banking and financial relations.
- In line with the best practices of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) specialized mechanisms such as ABF, disseminate the culture of ADR through education of citizens and professional categories.
‘Japan’s NAP does not explicitly address this issue’
The Kenya NAP makes no reference to the Finance and banking sector.
The Lithuanian NAP makes no reference to the finance and banking sector.
Content from non-BHR specific chapters in the Human Rights NAP:
Strategic priority 3.2. Foster social and cultural changes with the aim of encouraging the full development and wellbeing of the people with disabilities
3.2.1. Promote the equal access of people with disabilities to services, support mechanisms and government credit, as well as to products and services offered by lending institutions.
3.1 An active role for the government
The OECD Guidelines Proactive Agenda [page 15]
“The Proactive Agenda was added to the OECD Guidelines in 2011 to elucidate the guidelines for specific sectors or situations, together with all the countries involved. In the context of the Agenda, the OECD is working with the financial sector on clarifying application of the guidelines.”
3.3 Clarifying due diligence
Landgrabbing in Brazil [page 25]
“Several Dutch financial institutions were recently linked through an investment partner to landgrabbing in Brazil. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation immediately contacted the Dutch and Brazilian institutions concerned, and had talks with high-level representatives of ABN AMRO Bank, the ABP Pension Fund, Aegon, the Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), ING Bank, the Dutch Banking Association, the Federation of Dutch Pension Funds, PFZW pension fund and Rabobank. They discussed the need for greater transparency with regard to loans and investments, and had a constructive exchange of views on participation of Dutch financial institutions in multi-sector consultations on better land and land-use rights.”
|2. The State duty to protect human rights
Responsible Management [page 22]. “Through the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and the Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN), Norway has financial investments both in Norway and the world at large. The role of the Fund is that of a financial investor, and the overriding objective is to achieve the highest possible return at moderate risk.
2.9 International Cooperation on CSR on UN Guiding Principle 10 [page 27]:
We also play an active role in the UN, the OECD, the multilateral financial institutions and the regional development banks.
[..]The operational responsibility for management of the GPFG and the GPFN lies with Norges Bank and Folketrygdfondet respectively, which operate in accordance with mandates decided by the Ministry of Finance. In the management mandate set by the Ministry it is stated that a good long-term return is considered dependent on sustainable development in economic, environmental and social terms, as well as well-functioning legitimate and efficient markets. [..] Norges Bank’s responsible investment management is, as a starting point, based on international principles and standards, such as those set by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD in the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. When the UN Guiding Principles were adopted, Norges Bank endorsed a campaign by investors in support of the principles.
Pakistan’s NAP does not explicitly address this issue.
2021-2024 NATIONAL ACTION PLAN
Appendix 1 (information material prepared by the Ministry of Justice)
1. Topic: Claims under bank agreements, reference No C23/21
Specific issues discussed during the training include, among others: judicial control of the content of credit agreements, abusive clauses in credit agreements and their consequences, foreign currency denominated and indexed credits, claims under other bank agreements.
Target audience: judges, assessor judges and court referendaries adjudicating in civil and commercial divisions as well as assistant judges adjudicating in those divisions, and prosecutors and assessors in public prosecutor’s office dealing with civil law cases.
Number of editions: 4.
Principle 3a – Consumer Rights
Consumer rights form part of numerous vertical sector-specific regulations, with emphasis on the following sectors: financial services, which essentially require transparency and information… (pg. 15)
Principle 4 – Businesses receiving State support
The Slovene Export and Development Bank – SID Bank is based on the principle of balanced and sustainable development with respect to economic, environmental and social development. (pg. 24)
The Slovene Export and Development Bank considers a comprehensive, long-term and ethical views, and demands their application in all financial operations, services and activities. (pg. 25)
Principle 6 – Planned Measures
The Slovene export and development bank, SID Bank, will continue to observe the principles according to which it has operated, including the principle of balanced and sustainable development (economic, environmental and social development), and follow good practices in the implementation of these principles in comparable institutions in the EU. (pg. 28)
Principle 10 – Basic Orientations
Through its activities in the World Bank Group committees, Slovenia will support the effective implementation of the Environmental and Social Framework, including the environmental and social policies, which are integral parts of it. (pg. 32)
Among other things, these Standards foresee the support of the World Bank Group for the fulfilment of human rights. The EDS10 constituency of the World Group Bank, of which Slovenia is a part, is in favour of including human rights, and advocates an independent inspection panel as an effective protection mechanism, which – based on appeals – would determine whether an investment project infringes on human rights with regard to the mandatory standards. (pg. 33)
[T]he fight against climate change and respect for human rights are fundamental elements of the European Investment Bank’s lending policy. (pg. 33)
Slovenia fully supports the operations of the Council of Europe Development Bank, where all projects must meet the requirement of respecting the political and social goals of the Council of Europe. (pg. 33)
When addressing the strategies and projects of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in which Slovenian representatives participate on the board of directors, Slovenia will continue to cooperate actively in accordance with the EBRD’s fundamental principles relating to respect for human rights. (pg. 33)
South Korea’s NAP makes no reference to finance and banking.
Guiding Principle 4
“Within one year after the approval of this Plan, a Working Group will be created within the framework of the Strategic Plan for the Internationalization of the Spanish Economy, which will develop a specific Action Plan to examine the coherence of policies to support business internationalization, and its alignment with the Guiding Principles. The Working Group, which will present its conclusions to the Government, will study how cooperation for development, official credit agencies, export credit and official insurance or investment guarantee agencies of all administrations are able to condition, modulate or revise its support for investment based on the exercise of the responsibility to respect human rights by the beneficiary companies, both inside and outside of Spanish territory.”
“The Government will support the inclusion of human rights considerations in financial institutions for regional and international development.”
Guiding Principle 8
“The Ministries of the Treasury and Public Function; Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda will train and provide support on the Guiding Principles through their dependent agencies, to departments, government agencies and other state institutions that encourage and support the creation of businesses, business competitiveness and commercial and financial business practices in order to promote the coherence of policies and processes with the Guiding Principles and the international standards of human rights mandatory for Spain.”
Guiding Principle 10
“Spain will promote the European Union, international organizations and international financial institutions of which Spain is member to share best practices with a view to encourage policy coherence and technical assistance to member states where requested.”
Annex: Measures taken [page 22]
The State as actor
- “Following support from Sweden and other countries, the Board of Governors of the World Bank decided in 2011 that the regulations on social and environmental standards that the Bank applies to business loans provided via its private sector body the International Finance Corporation (IFC) should include a requirement that consideration must be had to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”
2 National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights 2020-23
2.1 Pillar 1: state duty to protect
2.1.5 Policy coherence
Guiding Principle 10
Measure 19: Promotion of respect for human rights and labour standards within financial institutions
As part of its involvement in international financial institutions, Switzerland actively promotes the systematic reinforcement of ESG standards. It supports the strictest transparency standards and helps to mitigate the potential adverse human rights impacts of projects by strengthening the independent inspection committees that handle project-related complaints lodged by the communities concerned. By creating frameworks and exemplary programmes, financial institutions can advance the promotion of ESG standards, respect for human rights at international level and a shared understanding of problems.
|Ensuring that investments and projects supported by Switzerland in relation to its economic development cooperation and international financial institutions do not have an adverse impact on human rights and serve as an example of international best practices.||Human rights due diligence as part of SIFEM investments (source: summary report of the Federal Council on the achievement of its strategic goals).
Swiss contributions within international financial institutions to promote ESG standards, transparency and respect for human rights
|EAER [Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research]|
Appendix 1: Concrete actions taken by Taiwan to fulfill the state obligation to protect
- Promotion of corporate social responsibility (page 27)
‘The Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) has issued the “Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation Rules Governing the Preparation and Filing of Corporate Social Responsibility Reports by TWSE Listed Companies,” and the Taipei Exchange (TPEx) has issued the “Taipei Exchange Rules Governing the Preparation and Filing of Corporate Social Responsibility Reports by TPEx Listed Companies.” If a listed company is in any of the following circumstances, it shall prepare and file a corporate social responsibility report in Chinese according to these Rules: (a) the company is in the food industry, chemical industry, or financial industry; (b) no less than 50 percent of the company’s total operating revenue is derived from food and beverages; or (c) the company’s capital stock is not less than NT$5 billion. A listed company to which the above descriptions apply shall prepare a corporate social responsibility report for the preceding year, making reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and the Sector Disclosure documents issued by the GRI.’
Appendix 2: Concrete actions taken by Taiwan to ensure respect by businesses for human rights
- Governments can provide information and support to enterprises. The Taiwan government has implemented several regulations and measures to provide enterprises with guidance and support, including the following: (page 32)
‘…On November 6, 2017, the Executive Yuan approved the “Green Finance Action Plan” proposed by the Financial Supervisory Commission. This Plan encourages banks to adopt the Equator Principles (EPs) for international benchmarking. The EPs provide a risk management framework for assessing and managing the environmental and social risks of projects.’
- In order to strengthen enterprises’ CSR implementation and enhance human rights awareness, the Taiwanese government and civil society have implemented a number of support measures, including the following: (pages 32-33)
‘…The Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy has launched the Taiwan Sustainability Value Index (TWSVI). The TWSVI uses economic, environmental, social, disclosure, and sustainability evaluations to select company stocks that have both financial and long-term sustainability value.
The Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy cooperates with the government to … help enterprises to comply with the “Principles for Responsible Banking” and the recommendations of the “Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.”
In addition, in order to promote the development of a sustainable investment environment, TWSE subsidiary Taiwan Index Plus Corporation and FTSE Russell jointly released the “FTSE4Good TIP Taiwan ESG Index,” the first ESG index that fully integrates environmental, social, corporate governance, and financial indicators in Taiwan.
The Taipei Exchange and the Taiwan Index Plus Corporation have joined forces with the Taiwan Business Council for Sustainable Development to collaborate in developing the TIP Taiwan TPEx CSR Index, which selects component stocks on the basis of whether the issuing companies satisfy certain CSR performance criteria. The Index thus encourages companies to take their CSR obligations seriously and to fulfill them. We also hope to see companies issue ETFs, ETNs, index warrants, index funds, and other index products that would provide investors new channels via which to take part in socially responsible investing.
Industry associations and companies also voluntarily propose or follow many relevant international standards, including the following:
In order to ensure CSR implementation in the financial industry, the Bankers Association of the ROC in 2014 adopted credit guidelines with reference to the spirit of the “Equator Principles,” addressing such matters as environmental protection, ethical business practices, and social responsibility.’
3. The core content of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
3.4 Action Plan on Cross Border Investment and Multinational Enterprises
3.4.3 Action Plan (2019–2022)
Pillar 1: State duties in protecting (Protect)
|Responsible agencies||Time-frame (2019–2022)||Indicators (wide frame)||Compliance with National Strategy/ SDGs/UNGPs|
|2.||Creating investor awareness||Encourage commercial banks to focus on the business operations that affect society and the environment by promoting Sustainable Banking Guidelines, which define guidelines for commercial banks consistent with the principles of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria or other practices that are accepted internationally||– Bank of Thailand||2019–2022||Common guidelines for Sustainable Banking Guidelines in order to set business standards. Finance in accordance with the principles of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria or other guidelines that are accepted internationally||– National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth
– National Strategy for Human Capital Development and Strengthening
– SDG 8 and 16
– UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7, 8, 9 and 10
CHAPTER THREE: SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
3.6 Consumer Protection
Uganda has maintained a liberal economic policy since the late 1980s. This policy approach has seen Uganda divest most public enterprise and allow private sector players in a number of important sectors of the economy such as telecommunications, energy/electricity, transport and banking. There is evidence that this economic policy approach has driven economic development in the country, with greater multiplier and inter-sectoral effects. However, the full potential of the economic policy reforms has been hampered by some uncompetitive practices by some of the private sector players.
The current policy, legal and regulatory framework related to promotion of fair competition and consumer protection is fragmented. A number of sub-sectors have policies and laws that govern the promotion of competition and consumer protection. These include; Financial institutions i.e. deposit taking, money lenders and insurance companies …
CHAPTER FIVE: INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
5.5 Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
- Ensure allocation of funds to sectors for implementation of the action plan in line with the public finance management Act.
- Promote the integration of the action plan in all sector budgets and plans.
- Enact appropriate tax regimes.
The UK 2013 NAP makes no reference to finance and banking.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP refers to two state-based bodies mandated to address financial matters in section 4 Access to Remedy for Human Rights Abuses Resulting from Business Activity [page 20] where it states:
“We also provide a number of state-based non-judicial mechanisms, including: … a considerable number of Ombudsman, Regulators and other Government Complaints Offices in industry sectors that have various mechanisms to hear complaints, impose sanctions and award compensation. For example, the Health and Safety Executive, Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Ombudsman Service and Advertising Standards Authority.”
Outcome 1.1: Promoting RBC Globally
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 9]
“Promotion of Robust Safeguards at the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs): The U.S. government will continue to play a leading role in encouraging strong safeguard and sustainability policies across multilateral development banks and other IFIs. Over the course of the World Bank’s recently-completed Safeguards review, the U.S. government supported strong provisions in the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework approved in August 2016, including a new safeguard on labor and working conditions, and encouraged the World Bank to incorporate human rights issues in its safeguards.” – Implementing Department or Agency: Treasury, DOL, State, USAID
Outcome 1.2: Utilize U.S. Law, Multilateral Agreements, and Diplomacy to Promote and Enforce High Standards
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives
“Robust and Consistent Enforcement of U.S. Laws and Regulations: The U.S. government will protect the integrity of our financial system and combat money laundering and financial crimes by continuing to enforce its laws in order to protect human, labor, and civil rights. Laws whose enforcement advances key priorities relevant to RBC include those listed in Annex II.” – Implementing Department or Agency: DOJ, Treasury
Outcome 2.1: Enhance the Value of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives on RBC
Ongoing Commitments [page 14]
“ILO-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Better Work Program: More than 60 American apparel brands are part of the Better Work program, implemented by the ILO in partnership with the IFC. DOL has funded Better Work programs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. The Better Work program is being implemented in 1,343 export apparel factories, supporting better labor conditions for approximately 1,750,000 workers worldwide.” – Implementing Department or Agency: DOL
Outcome 3.3: Capacity Building and Technical Support to Promote Enabling Environments
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 19]
“Financial Action Task Force (FATF): The United States is a founding member of the FATF and will continue to be actively involved in advancing the FATF’s global efforts in combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financing threats that pose a risk to the integrity of the international financial system. The United States recently underwent a Mutual Evaluation Review to assess levels of implementation of the FATF Recommendations.” – Implementing Department or Agency: Treasury
Annex II: Key Domestic Executive Orders and Regulatory Efforts [page 26-29]
“Money Laundering and Bank Integrity: Treasury administers the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which, among other things, requires financial institutions to maintain effective anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs. Effective AML programs include, among other things, the ability to detect and report suspicious activity, including corruption, and to conduct due diligence and enhanced measures when banks, broker-dealers, or other institutions deal with senior foreign political figures. DOJ prosecutes criminal violations of the BSA focusing on criminal violations by financial institutions whose actions threaten the integrity of the individual institution or the wider financial system, as well as professional money launderers and gatekeepers. These unique cases reinforce the obligation on U.S. businesses in the financial sector to harden their infrastructure against financial crime—including bribery, misappropriation, and theft—and reinforce the private sector’s role as a strong line of defense against the introduction of ill-gotten gains to the U.S. financial system. …
Transparency: The U.S. government is engaging in efforts to strengthen financial and corporate transparency to make our country even less attractive for the corrupt looking to spend the proceeds of their crimes. To that end, DOJ has submitted to Congress a package of legislative proposals that will improve the United States’ ability to combat money laundering, particularly when linked to foreign official corruption, and to locate and recover stolen assets and other criminal proceeds. Additionally, Treasury recently announced a final rule to increase transparency in the financial system. The final Customer Due Diligence rule, which was first noticed in 2014 and was subject to a public comment process, will require that financial institutions—including banks and other entities—collect and verify the personal information of the real people (also known as beneficial owners) who own, control, and profit from companies when those companies open accounts. It clarifies and expands BSA obligations and will be fully implemented by financial institutions no later than two years after its effective date (i.e. May 11, 2018). Finally, Treasury, on behalf of the Administration, sent to Congress draft legislation that would require companies formed within the United States to file adequate, accurate, and current information on its beneficial owners with Treasury. The proposed legislation includes penalties for failure to comply and is necessary to prevent the misuse of companies formed under state law. To address potential vulnerabilities in the domestic real estate market, Treasury uses its authorities to require certain title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end real estate in six major metropolitan areas.”