UNEP FI: Tool for associating UN and financial sector

August 29, 2020

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) was established in 1992 as a platform associating the United Nations and the financial sector globally. The need for this unique partnership arose from the growing recognition of the links between finance and environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges, and the role financial institutions could play for a more sustainable world.

UNEP FI works closely with 230 members from the banking, investment and insurance sectors, who have signed the UNEP FI Statement of Commitment. The membership is made up of public and private financial institutions from around the world, and is balanced between developed and developing countries. They recognize sustainability as part of a collective responsibility and support approaches to anticipate and prevent potential negative impacts on the environment and society.

UNEP FI Social Issues

UNEP FI is committed to exploring the intricacies between social issues, human rights and financial sector practices. UNEP FI aims to de-mystify the language and jargon surrounding the social agenda, and clarify how social issues relate to the activities of finance institutions.

The main objectives of the work stream include:

  • To develop and maintain an understanding of human rights and social issues and how they apply to financial institutions worldwide, so that financial sector professionals are equipped to make responsible decisions.
  • To produce internationally applicable guidance for finance sector organizations on identifying and addressing social issues relevant to their businesses, highlighting relevant international laws, standards and initiatives, and examples of best practice.

The UNEP FI Human Rights Guidance Tool for the Financial Sector is designed as an online signposting tool providing information on human rights risks for financial institutions.

Included in the tool finance practitioners will find:

  • background information on human rights and how they relate to finance
  • relevant international laws, standards and initiatives
  • key questions to assist in assessing human rights risks and impacts
  • issues relating to different industry sectors
  • key human rights topics
  • links to other relevant resources

The tool focuses specifically on human rights issues relevant to the assessment of business relationships and transactions. Links are also provided within each of the sector briefings to the broader environmental and social risk guidance provided by UNEP FI. Together these form part of the growing array of tools and guidance available to financial institutions to enhance their understanding of human rights risks.

This tool provides a framework for finance sector professionals to:

  • identify potential human rights risk in lending operations
  • assess the materiality of the human right risk
  • identify possible risk mitigants.

Financial institutions will want to use the tool to assess the human rights issues in their own business and its supply chain. They will also find it useful in reviewing other aspects of financial services provision, in addition to lending policies and practices. Whilst the tool is mainly addressed to lending managers, human rights are important in relation to all financial sector activity, so others will also find much of interest and relevance in it.

The Human Rights Guidance Tool has been fully revised in 2014. The tool was originally launched in 2007 and updated in 2011.


Table of Contents

Introduction

Key Issues and Questions

Human Rights Issues by Sector

Human Rights Issues by Topic

Resources

About this tool

 

https://www.unepfi.org/humanrightstoolkit/credits.php

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