As part of a side event to the UN Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights – Asia Pacific, UNEP FI organised a workshop on banking and human rights issues for ASEAN banks.

It included an overview of human rights issues related to businesses in ASEAN and how this relates to banks under both hard and soft laws; how banks in the region are tackling human rights; and a live exercise to develop an ASEAN human rights risk heatmap with the help of experts.

This introductory workshop aimed to raise awareness among ASEAN banks on:

  • How bank’s corporate clients can violate human rights and where are the hotspots? Further, how is the COVID-19 crisis changing the risk landscape?;
  • How and when as lenders could banks seen to be ‘contributing’ or event ‘directly linked’ to adverse impacts under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (soft law)?; and
  • What the soft law means for ASEAN banks when the hard law does not go as far? – What are the other factors to take into consideration?


12 June 2020

14:00 ICT | 09:00 CEST (90 minutes)


  1. Welcome
    Moderator: Yuki Yasui, Asia Pacific Co-ordination Manager, UNEP FI
  2. Lightning round: Context setting – Human rights issues for business in ASEAN
    • Harpreet Kaur, Business & Human rights Specialist, Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, UNDP
    • Soo Young Hwang, UNEP
  3. Info-share: Human Rights disclosures and polices among banks
    • Ghislaine Nadaud, Head of Sustainability Asia Pacific, ABN AMRO BANK N.V.
    • Ryan Bjorkquist, Director, Standard Chartered Bank
  4. Legal analysis: Understanding the hard and soft laws in human rights for banks
    • Radu Mares, Head of Economic Globalisation and Human Rights Thematic Area
      Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights
    • Barbara Bijelic, Legal Expert, Responsible Business Conduct, OECD
  5. Live exercise: Develop an ASEAN human rights risk heatmap for banks
  6. Closing