“Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy. With a balance sheet total of just over 375 billion euros, our bank can really make a difference, so we have a responsibility to help make the world a better place. Last year, for example, we introduced the Sustainable Home Mortgage. Our portfolio of sustainable investments in private banking has doubled in just two years. More than half of new investors now opt for sustainable investments. And in 2019, ABN AMRO and 129 other international banks signed the UN`s responsible banking principles. The signatories, who account for one third of the total assets of all banks in the world, agreed to bring their business strategies in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. ABN AMRO is also trying to do this with Ton Heerts: “It is very important that ABN AMRO is the first bank in the Netherlands to take this step. This agreement guarantees the rights of employees in all countries – not only the bank`s employees, but also the companies the bank employs. Decent hours and employment contracts are not the norm everywhere. The agreement also protects fundamental rights such as freedom to join a trade union, freedom to negotiate and access to trade unions within companies. In 2020, we expect the Dutch economy to slow, mainly due to weaker export growth. Brexit could also have negative effects if new negotiations on the UK`s future trade relationship with the European Union fail.
Outside the Netherlands, the global economy is facing clear headwinds, including persistent international trade tensions and concerns about the emergence of COVID-19. The U.S. economy is expected to slow, as are the Chinese and Japanese. Meanwhile, the risk of recession in the euro area has also increased. This is ABN AMRO`s third integrated annual report using the IIRC framework. Where possible, the data is displayed in context. ABN AMRO is committed to ensuring continuity of relationships and facilitates comparability with other companies using the same framework. Politically, we have a declaration of human rights based on international conventions; These include OECD guidelines and requirements under the Protection, Respect and Reparation Framework, which is part of the UN`s economic and human rights guidelines. We work in accordance with these conventions.
The Dutch agreement on the banking sector also defines the responsibility of banks for human rights. We are currently working on two areas from our work with the agreement over the past three years: ensuring access to remedial measures for victims of human rights violations and the effectiveness of customer complaint mechanisms.