Investors with over US$200b support BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark
The need for corporate transparency and accountability in the financial sector is vital in today’s increasingly connected world. While private sector banks can contribute to economic growth and prosperity through increased access to financial capital and services across world regions, they can also facilitate business activities that are associated with adverse impacts on people’s fundamental welfare and dignity.
In response, a group of 80 investors representing over US$200 billion in assets under management and coordinated by the Investor Alliance for Human Rights has released a statement of support for the BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark.
The Benchmark has analyzed the public disclosure of 50 of the world’s largest banks against four aspects of implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights across each company’s banking activities: (1) policy commitment, (2) human rights due diligence, (3) reporting, and (4) access to remedy.
While the BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark acknowledges some improvements by the evaluated banks as compared to past rankings, it found that an alarming 40 out of the 50 evaluated banks achieved a score of 6 or less out of a possible 14 points, indicating that the vast majority of the evaluated banks are implementing less than half of the expectations outlined in the UN Guiding Principles. Moreover, of particular concern to investors, only 12 of the analyzed banks demonstrated senior-level sign-off of their human rights policy commitments, as well as specific governance of human rights at the Board level.
In the statement, the signatory investors welcome the BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark and commit to incorporating its findings in investment analysis, voting, and other engagement practices.