Dutch Banking Sector Agreement partners publish annual report with new analysis of cocoa sector

The coalition that concluded the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct Regarding Human Rights has published its first annual report. The report includes two new analyses, one concerning the global cocoa value chain and the other describing how the Agreement parties and adhering banks can use their influence to prevent and reduce human rights violations.

Annual report 2017 IMVO bancaire sector

Annual report

The first annual report of the agreement describes the progress that the parties and adhering banks have made. For example, many of the banks have improved their grievance mechanisms and made them accessible for non-clients as well. The annual report also includes recommendations of an external monitoring committee regarding the progress the parties and banks have made towards meeting their obligations. According to the monitoring committee, the participants are making solid progress. At the same time, parties and adhering banks are advised to mark the agreement as a sufficiently high priority in order to yield visible results next year.

Jacqueline Cramer, independent chair to the agreement: “A unique form of cooperation developed between the parties over the past year. We naturally have a long way to go, but it’s wonderful to see the efforts of the banks, CSOs, government and trade unions being rewarded and to witness the first results of their combined efforts becoming evident.”

How are banks financing the cocoa value chain?

The risk of human rights violations is considerable in the worldwide cocoa value chain. In this new analysis, banks, CSOs, government and trade unions have pooled their knowledge to map the cocoa value chain and to identify the parts of the chain where banks can exercise leverage. The working group has recommended three follow-up actions that the parties can undertake in the next two years. The parties will decide jointly how to address the recommendations. A similar analysis is being produced for the palm oil value chain; stakeholders are invited to respond to the consultation version of the palm oil analysis.

Furthermore, a joint analysis has been produced describing how parties and banks can jointly increase leverage as a group.

Dutch Banking Sector Agreement

The Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct Regarding Human Rights entered into effect in December 2016. The purpose of the agreement is to prevent or end human rights violations by companies to which banks extend credit. Eleven banks have committed to meeting the obligations under the agreement.

In addition to their individual agreements, the parties expect to publish a number of new joint reports in the upcoming year, explaining which further steps banks will take to prevent human rights violations related to the activities of their clients.