Respecting human rights
We are committed to respecting human rights. In our role as an employer and as a user and provider of services, we seek to respect human rights as a key element of conducting business responsibly.
2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. We strive to assume our responsibilities in the area of human rights in accordance with the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as the principles on human and labor rights set out in the UN Global Compact. We take account of these principles in our own policies and business activities.
The Credit Suisse Statement on Human Rights (PDF) describes the foundation of our commitment to respect human rights and the approaches, processes and tools we apply to implement it in our relationships with our employees and when providing financial products and services for our broad range of clients. Equally, we expect our business partners to recognize and uphold human rights. Our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Transparency Statement sets out the steps that Credit Suisse is taking to prevent the occurrence of modern slavery and human trafficking in our business operations or within our supply chain. Human rights standards are also part of our Supplier Code of Conduct as well as the Third Party Risk Management framework we introduced in 2016. For more information on supplier management, see the dedicated website.
We take account of the UN "Protect, Respect and Remedy" framework and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – the key reference points in the area of business and human rights. To promote a better understanding of what the Guiding Principles mean for the banking sector, Credit Suisse co-initiated the Thun Group together with other banks in 2011. Since its inception, the Thun Group has worked on providing guidance for the practical implementation of the Guiding Principles in the development or structuring of banking products and services. At the 2019 meeting of the Thun Group, representatives from banks, governments, academia, civil society and other actors discussed topics such as the OECD projects on responsible business conduct, effective human rights due diligence and performance measurement and actions to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.
Credit Suisse's most direct link to human rights issues is in our working relationship with our employees, and this is consequently the area where we believe we can exercise the greatest influence. In addition, the provision of certain financial services may be linked to negative human rights impacts. For example, while companies operating in sensitive sectors frequently play a key economic role in the global supply of energy and commodities and as an employer, the activities of these companies can, in some cases, have a significant impact on local or indigenous communities. We therefore examine aspects of client relationships or transactions that are sensitive from a human rights perspective using our Reputational Risk Review Process. We apply our internal sector-specific policies that include aspects such as the protection of the health and safety of company employees and surrounding communities as well as a commitment to respect the human rights of local populations. In 2019, we updated our policies on oil and gas, mining and forestry and agribusiness by including the concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with respect to project-related transactions as part of our expectations towards our clients. Furthermore, to take account of differing viewpoints, we engage in an ongoing dialogue with NGOs and other key stakeholders. For example, our participation in the Advisory Group to the OECD Responsible Business Conduct in the Financial Sector project contributes to the development of best practices for human rights and environmental due diligence.
Also, Credit Suisse played an active role in the update of the Equator Principles, where new commitments have been made in relation to human rights and indigenous peoples, among other areas.
Indications of potential or real human rights impacts can be brought to our attention using existing channels such as the Integrity Hotline (Switzerland: 0800 356 356 56), the Credit Suisse Whistleblower Process, client contact centers, online contact forms, or email.