Fair Finance Guide International

The Fair Finance Guide leads to improvements in the CSR policies and practices of banks, more informed engagement by the public, and more awareness and debate about banks’ responsibilities towards society.

There is currently no global standard for responsible banking, based on widely accepted international norms and conventions. Supporting Fair Finance Guide International (FFGI) will result in civil society having additional capacity in countries all over the world to evaluate and monitor the policies and practices of banks and other financial institutions, and to press for bankers and investors to behave more responsibly. FFGI will fill that gap, uniting various civil society interests covering the broad social and environmental issues which banks impact.

The project builds on a pioneering model developed in the Netherlands since 2009, the Eerlijke Bankwijzer (Dutch) or 'Fair Bank Guide', and its equivalent for the insurance industry, Eerlijke Verzekeringswijzer. It is developing a methodology for research and analysis of bank policies and practices, and providing evidence-based support for dialogue with financial institutions. It will set the agenda and stimulate campaigns on regulatory policies, social responsibility and development relevance of the main financial institutions. In january 2015 we released the report '5 years of the Dutch Fair Bank Guide (2009-2014)'.

Fair Bank Guides modeled on the Netherlands have recently been launched in Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Indonesia, Belgium and France. We aim to continue this momentum both geographically and by expanding the scope to other financial institutions such as pension funds and investors.

Facts

• Project period: 2015 – 2018
• Target group: Financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, pension funds), their clients and investors, regulating governmental authorities
• Location: South East Asia, USA, Nordic countries
• Budget needed: The project in Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Indonesia, Belgium and France is funded until 2016 by the Swedish Agency for International Development (Sida). Extension to other regions and sectors will require: SE Asia - €1.5 million; USA – €500,000; Nordic countries – €700,000
• Proponent: SE Asia – Oxfam Novib; USA – Oxfam America; Nordic countries – Oxfam Novib.

Contact

Several organizations have shown interest in starting up a Fair Finance Guide in their country. To find out more about the project and how your organisation can join, please contact: Petra Hamers, International Coordinator of Fair Finance Guide International. Email: petra.hamers@oxfamnovib.nl

Gine Zwart
Private Sector Advisor
Email: gine.zwart@oxfamnovib.nl
http://fairfinanceguide.org/

 

Details

URGENCY

Through their investments in companies and projects and their financial and trading activities, the banking industry can have a major influence on sustainable development, poverty reduction, human rights, societies and the environment.

We are not interested only in the “do no harm” principle – we also want banks to progressively raise their transparency and accountability and improve their policies and behaviour. For this to happen, it is crucial that customers of banks receive well-researched information on bank policies and practices, to inform their choices and ability to act as responsible citizens.

 


PROJECT

The Fair Finance Guide assesses banks’ policies on social, economic and environmental issues such as climate change, human rights, labour rights, the arms trade and transparency, and sectors such as oil and gas, fisheries, agriculture and forestry.

The database is freely accessible to the general public, media and policymakers. Scores are given annually, allowing for comparisons, and banks are invited to enter into dialogue.

The Dutch Fair Bank Guide (Eerlijke Bankwijzer) has been run since 2009 by Oxfam Novib, Amnesty International Netherlands, Dutch labour union FNV and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals, and PAX

 

IMPACT

In its first five years, the Dutch Bankwiser achieved more than 140 measurable improvements in banks´ policies.

Case studies led to numerous articles in traditional media and activity on social media. In the first four years, 374,200 people visited the website and 13,091 people sent a message to their bank asking to improve their policies.

30,000 people clicked the 'I want to change to another bank' button. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, and Lilianne Ploumen, minister of trade and development cooperation, committed to the Dutch parliament to ensure that banks will operate sustainably by the end of 2016.