In 2013, seven Dutch banks have improved their sustainability policies regarding all told 16 subjects. This applies to ABN Amro, Aegon Bank, ASN Bank, NIBC, Rabobank, SNS Bank and Van Lanschot. Three banks, Delta Lloyd Bank, ING Bank and Triodos, have not introduced policy improvements in 2013, despite the fact that these banks do not yet have optimal sustainability policies, or none at all. This is revealed by the new annual update of the Fair Bank Guide.
'It's good that several banks are taking further steps to improve their sustainability policy. The race to the top is pushing forward, but not yet at high speed. There still is a long way to go. The policies of many banks, in particular with regard to climate change, animal welfare, taxation and corruption, and housing, still leave much to be desired. The importance of real sustainable investments has still to percolate through to all bank boards,' says Peter Ras, Fair Bank Guide project leader.
Positive though, are the new policies introduced by ASN and Rabobank on sustainability in housing and real estate by promoting energy saving measures. ABN Amro finds the extraction of oil from tar sands unacceptable. Aegon has improved its policy on manufacturing industries, by introducing certification requirements garments and chemical industries, and expects companies to accept chain responsibility when it invests in them. The differences between banks remain big: in the speed in which they adopt sustainability policies, in the level of their sustainability ambitions, and in the way they apply their sustainability policies in their investments.
'Our four studies into their practices in 2013 show that reality proves resilient to change. The investment policies of banks in nuclear arms, cattle transport, transparency and mining often fall short off the mark or are not being implemented,' according to Ras.
The new Annual Update Fair Bank Guide is published at www.eerlijkebankwijzer.nl
Note for editors:
The Fair Bank Guide is an initiative of Oxfam Novib, FNV, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Amnesty International, Animal Protection and Pax. The economic research agency Profundo does the studies.
The annual update published today concerns a research into the policies of banks. Alongside, we also periodically research the banks' application of their policies in practice. In the next research into their practices, September 2014, we will look into the possible involvement of banks into tax evasion.