Pilot 2019/2020: Advisory Panel on Responsible Banking

"Banks and NGOs: share experiences for a more positive impact on human rights"


The Dutch banking sector is working together on an important ambition - the full implementation of the OECD Guidelines, particularly in relation to human rights. To support this effort, the banks wish to share lessons learned from cases from practice. To this end, the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) is appealing to banks and NGOs to submit cases to the experts of the Advisory Panel on Responsible Banking.

How can organisations ensure - across their whole breadth, from internal processes to customer-facing activities - that social sustainability is implemented? The OECD Guidelines and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights form the basis for these organisations’ International Responsible Business Conduct policies. These guidelines specify how organisations can respect the internationally recognised human rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their processes, and how they can address and reduce any unfavourable impact on human rights that is directly related to their own business activities or those of their partners in supply chains.

Working together on human rights

In 2016, banks, trade unions, NGOs and the Dutch government all signed the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on international responsible business conduct regarding human rights. This covenant enhances banks’ ability to ensure that human rights are respected in their investment and financing activities. One of the agreements made was to establish an advisory body to discuss cases with the aim of promoting responsible banking.


Panel for more impact

Which challenges and dilemmas are relevant, which countries or issues require particular attention in this context, and what solutions are possible in practice? In order to learn from one another and thus increase their positive impact on responsible banking in areas such as human rights and environmental protection, the NVB, together with Rabobank, ABN AMRO, Triodos Bank, Volksbank, BNG Bank, NWB Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo and NIBC, recently launched a pilot Advisory Panel on Responsible Banking. This panel includes three experts on responsible banking.

Organisations with a direct or indirect interest in responsible banking, such as trade unions, NGOs and banks, can submit cases that illustrate the common challenges with respect to responsible banking. The panel will select two cases from the pilot period. The aim is to learn from cases that are relevant to the sector as a whole, in order to promote responsible banking.


How will experiences be shared?

The advice issued by the panel about these two cases will be published on the nvb.nl website, in consultation with the parties involved. The number of cases received will also be shared online. Naturally, duty of care, client confidentiality and other legal obligations will all be fully respected. The current pilot will last two years and will then be evaluated.


Role of the panel

The experts handle specific cases from banks and organisations with an interest in responsible banking, and provide sector-wide practical advice with regard to practical steps to promote responsible banking in the relevant sector or country. But the ‘contributors’ will receive more than just practical advice from experts. They will also work together on identifying and sharing best practices, in order to bring about collective progress in relation to ​​responsible banking across the entire sector. The NVB will be facilitating the panel in its work and sharing the best practices developed.


Meet the panel

  • Willem van Genugten - Emeritus Professor of International Law at Tilburg University.
  • Marleen Janssen Groesbeek - Professor in Sustainable Finance and Accounting at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda, Roosendaal, 's-Hertogenbosch and Tilburg.
  • David Kovick - Senior Advisor at Shift, a non-profit organisation specialized in business and human rights in New York

Which cases are eligible? And how can your organisation contribute a case to the Advisory Panel on Responsible Banking? Click here to find out how it works