Our approach to human rights

We have drawn together a set of standards called ‘Respecting people and communities: ANZ’s approach to human rights’. These standards help us to develop a culture of respect in the way we treat our employees, work with our clients and suppliers, and contribute to the communities where we operate.

Our standards reflect what we are doing to be respectful of local cultures and priorities, ensure we comply with laws and go further in situations where we have the sustainability, skills, resources and expertise to do so.

The standards were developed in consultation with stakeholders, including shareholders, community groups and our people, who want to know where we stand on these issues and to see evidence that our commitments are ‘more than words’.

We have made available to all our people and stakeholders a practical, user-friendly ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document. The FAQs have been designed for use by people across the bank including the branch network, product development, operations and risk. This document seeks to further embed Respecting People and Communities into our people practices, customer engagement, and risk identification and management processes.

Practical actions we have taken to improve our understanding and management of human-rights-related issues and opportunities in our business include:

While some aspects of our standards are aspirational, we believe they are achievable and essential to living our brand and growing our business responsibly.

In applying our standards, we understand our sustainability to respect the national sovereignty of host governments. Our response to human rights issues and ability to effect change may depend in some cases on local conditions and cultures, legal frameworks and the extent of our management control over another entity.

Our standards build on our values and the culture we wish to encourage across our business.

Our progress is communicated through our Corporate Sustainability e-bulletin and interim and full-year Corporate Sustainability reports.

We published a dedicated human rights edition of our CR e-bulletin which describes the progress that we have made to embed our human rights standards across our business. Find out more.

Our results

2014 results

2014 results

We provide training and education on our standards to employees in key business areas. We also work with other stakeholders – including customers, business partners and suppliers - to encourage their support for our approach and standards. We seek to incorporate them further into our business practices, through communications, contracts, agreements and due diligence processes.

In FY2014, more than 1,300 employees completed our online Social and Environmental Risk training, which covers our Corporate Sustainability Framework, our Sensitive Sector Policies and our approach to human rights.

2013 results

2013 results

During 2013 we continued to build our understanding of human rights issues across the bank by reconsidering their application in our Sensitive Sector policies, in particular.

We identified that human rights issues could be more consistently addressed within our Sensitive Sector policies and the policies have been updated accordingly. These updated policies and associated training are being rolled out in early FY2014.

Our Respecting People and Communities: ANZ's approach to human rights was updated in 2012 to reflect our commitment to supporting the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights and our recognition of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, as part of our UN Global Compact membership.

2012 results

2012 results

This year we have taken a number of steps to bring our human rights commitments to life for our staff, customers and suppliers.

These include:

  • Updating our People and Communities statement (PDF 52kB) to reflect the release of the United Nations Principles on Business and Human Rights. Following enquiries from external parties, including Socially Responsible Investor groups, we made explicit that by publicly supporting the UN Global Compact we acknowledge the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the three other Conventions underpinning the Compact.
  • Identifying a need for a Hydropower policy, supplementing our existing Water and Energy policies. The Hydropower policy was developed in consultation with a range of internal and external stakeholders, including clients, industry associations and non-governmental organisations.

We have also taken steps to further raise awareness, understanding and implementation of our human rights standards across our business, in particular in selected countries in the Asia Pacific region.

  • Early in the 2012 financial year, we conducted a series of supplier forums in China and Indonesia, to help build supplier understanding of, and support for, our Supplier Code of Practice.  
  • We conducted Responsible Sourcing workshops in Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand for our teams who interact with major suppliers. The purpose was to increase staff awareness of corporate responsibility, our supplier code, its purpose and our compliance framework and build actions around these subjects into the every day work of our sourcing teams.

Over the coming year we will undertake work to further raise awareness, understanding and implementation of our standards across our business, in particular in selected countries in the Asia Pacific region.

2011 results

2011 results

Since introducing our human rights standards last year we have taken a number of steps to bring them to life for our staff, customers and suppliers.

Our priority in the first year of implementation was to identify the areas of greatest risk and opportunity for promoting human rights. Three initiatives were identified and progress has been monitored throughout the year. These include:

  • reviewing our ‘People policies’ to ensure they reflect the standards;
  • defining the human rights standards and acceptable behaviours we expect of suppliers; and
  • integrating the standards into our social and environmental training program to help staff responsible for making business lending decisions.
  • Find out more about our progress against these priorities

The future

Over the coming year we will undertake work to further raise awareness, understanding and implementation of our standards across our business, in particular in selected countries in the Asia Pacific region.


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