Tuesday, October 27, 2020
The majority of the banks surveyed, including the three major banks, have inadequate policies for tackling tax avoidance by customers and on women's rights. Many banks have improved their climate policies, but not enough. De Volksbank, with subsidiary ASN, and Triodos also have the best bank policy for sustainability of all the banks studied in 2020 according to the new policy research.
Almost all banks have improved their human rights, climate and mining policies in the past two years. ABN Amro achieved a total of 8 higher scores due to new and better policy. De Volksbank, which already scored very high, achieved 6 higher scores due to stricter policy. ING's policy is lagging behind compared to ABN Amro and Rabobank in areas such as weapons, human rights, labor rights, health and oil & gas. Van Lanschot made hardly any policy improvements.
Five banks, including the three major banks ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank, still have insufficient policies to combat tax avoidance. For example, they don't ask the companies they finance to be open about their tax payments and settlements with tax authorities. In addition, they do not expect companies to have a system to take immediate action if employees or suppliers are guilty of tax evasion. Six of the eight banks surveyed also fall short in their policies to tackle discrimination against women at companies in which the banks invest, promote women's participation at the top of companies and close the gender pay gap.
Five banks receive higher scores because of improved climate policy in the past two years, but scores often remain moderate (five banks do not exceed score 5-6). ABN Amro and ING are more transparent about the carbon footprint of some of their business loans. ABN Amro has also developed concrete reduction targets for the greenhouse gas emissions of loans to energy companies and real estate. However, six banks have no or completely inadequate targets for phasing out investments in fossil energy (especially oil and gas companies). Four banks are also not yet transparent about their share in the greenhouse gas emissions of all companies and projects in which they invest. De Volksbank and Triodos have by far the best climate policy: they both score a 9.
Bunq is a newcomer to the guide and the online bank's investment policy is quite good. Bunq scores an 8 or higher for 12 themes and sectors, including health, human rights and nature. Bunq's assets are invested by the insurer and asset manager ASR.
Follow the FFG NL Dutch reporting here.
You can access the full report in Dutch here.
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