Respecting people and communities

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 approach to human rights

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 responsibility, skills, resources and expertise to do so.

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

We recently made available to all staff and stakeholders a practical, user-friendly ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document. The FAQs have been designed for use by staff across the bank including the branch network, product development, operations and risk. This document seeks to further embed Respecting People and Communities into our staff 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 responsibility 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 will be communicated through our Corporate Responsibility (CR) e-bulletin and interim and full-year Corporate Responsibility 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

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.

Case Study

Michael Collins, Head of Sourcing for North East Asia and Vendor Management in International and Institutional Banking division was a participant in the Taiwan workshop. Michael was accompanied by members of his team across China and Taiwan.  

Following the workshop, Michael commented “The workshop gave my team a real appreciation of why we want our vendors to act responsibly and it’s had a direct impact on their work. Since the course I haven’t seen one ‘push back’. Team members used to bring to me cases where our vendors were requesting an alternative route to our compliance measures. Team members are now handling these issues themselves, persuading our vendors to comply with our Supplier Code of Practice”.

Michael continued “This course is great for the bank, our suppliers and the local environment. Our reputational risk is diminished, vendors are more knowledgeable about our expectations, through the increased awareness of our staff; both of which is having a positive effect on practices in the region. These are important issues we’re talking about: trafficking of people, labour practices, environmentally-hostile activities and other potentially negative impacts.

“ANZ has a lot of exposure in Asia and its great that we’re having an influence on corporate responsibility as far as our sphere of influence can go; ie into our value chain” Michael said.


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