ING publishes Human Rights report

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16 November 2018

Did you know that about 40.3 million people were trapped in modern slavery in 2016? Or that hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination at work?

Sadly, human rights violations are still present in today’s world. This not only harms people, but has wider social and economic consequences. ING is committed to respecting human rights and critically reviewed our own practices, resulting in our first Human Rights report.

In the report, we take a look at five human rights issues. For ING as an employer, these are work-related stress and discrimination; as a corporate lender, these are land-related community issues, child labour and forced labour. Knowing the biggest risk to our people and the people in the supply chains that we finance, (known as ‘salient’ issues) means we can start managing them first.

ING measures how we are doing based on employee wellbeing, our interactions with clients, the environmental and social risk (ESR) cases we address, and potential controversies, for example. We’ve seen we can do better when it comes to tracking how frequently the salient issues come up and how we prioritise these issues. This is true for our own operations as well as those of our clients.

Doing this better will enhance our ability to assess whether our approach is successfully reducing the most severe impacts on people.

Taking action

We seek to embed human rights due diligence in to the fabric of our business. This will be a major challenge in the years ahead, but we have actions in place for continued improvement:

  • We are updating our ESR sector policies.
  • We plan to take action to extend opportunities for client engagement on human rights, including for the salient issues identified.

This report is a landmark for how we communicate about managing human rights. It allows us to share insights clearly and obtain feedback on how we can further improve. We aim to continue this transparency, with this first human rights report acting as a starting point for future disclosures on our performance.

ING’s human rights journey

2000: Established an Environmental and Social Risk (ESR) team
2003: Became one of the first banks to adopt the Equator Principles
2005: Started a partnership programme with UNICEF
2006: Joined the UN Global Compact
Published ING’s Human Rights Statement for Employees for all of ING’s operations globally
2011: Became a member of the Thun Group of Banks
2012: Introduced ING’s Procurement Sustainability Standards
2013: Advised the OECD on developing environmental and social risk due diligence in the financial sector
2014: Published ING’s Orange Code as an update to the previous ING Business Principles
2015: Took part in the Advisory Group of the OECD project on ‘Responsible Business Conduct in the Financial Sector’
2016: Published ING’s Diversity Manifesto
Signed the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on human rights
Established a senior management Steering Committee to facilitate group-wide implementation of the DBA commitments
2017: Updated ING’s Statement on Human Rights
Published ING’s entire loan portfolio per sector
Defined salient human rights risks in our loan portfolio and own operations
Adopted the Responsible Ship Recycling Standards for financing
Published the UK Modern Slavery Act statement
2018: Looked at human rights impacts in the gold, palm oil and cocoa Value Chains
Working to expand engagement efforts with corporate lending clients on human rights
Updated ING’s group-wide complaints mechanism making clear reference to human rights and underlining its availability to all stakeholders
Announced that ING will withdraw from the tobacco industry by 2023
Adopted non-financial risk assessments on potential human rights impacts
Signed the UN Global Compact Women Empowerment Principles
Supported the UN standards for tackling LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace
Published a first human rights report in line with the UNGP Reporting Framework
Working towards an updated ESR Framework, including an expanded overarching human rights policy

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