NGOs: Financial Institutions Improve Policies Related to Animal Welfare, JAKARTA — The latest report released on Tuesday (4/4) by the non-governmental organization, international Sinergia Animal and the social company Shifting Values, shows an increase in the scores of financial institutions regarding their policies related to animal welfare. Last year, after the release of the first edition of the Banks for Animals report, the average bank’s assessed score was 9.9 percent, while in 2023, this has increased to 10.5 percent.

Documents and platforms assessed the policies of 74 banks and investors from 21 different countries on five continents (Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and Latin America). The five financial institutions with the best ratings are still occupied by the same banks as in 2022, namely Triodos, de Volksbank, Australian Ethical, Rabobank and ABN Amro – which shows an increase in at least one criterion they have on policies related to animal welfare.

“We observe little progress from international financial institutions starting to strengthen their commitments: within one year, 14 out of 74 financial institutions have improved their policies,” said Act For Farmed Animals Executive Director, a coalition of international NGOs, Sinergia Animal and Animal Friends Jogja Among Prakosa.

The bank with the most rapid ranking increase is Société Génerale France (last year’s score was 0 and this year’s score has increased by 21 percent). Colombian bank BanColombia is also on the list which has seen an increase since 2022, following the issuance of a policy banning the financing of wildlife trade. The bank also has a policy to limit funding for leather production.

“Financial institutions are key institutions to improve animal life. It is they who decide what activities and practices they accept to fund – or not. For example, a bank can have a policy to prevent financing related to animal testing, wildlife trade and also some of the most cruel practices towards livestock, such as the practice of battery cages and mutilation without anesthesia,” said Among.

The biggest increase is seen with the formation of policies that encourage specific lines of financing related to the transition to plant-based food systems which, usually translated into policies related to financing more sustainable food production, such as agroecological or agro-forestry practices, or policies to improve animal welfare – such as the transition from the use of battery cages. This year, nine banks, such as Dutch Rabobank, British NatWest and Standard Chartered, are adding these criteria to their lending policies.

According to the NGO Sinergia Animal, providing transparency in this sector is an opportunity for customers to find out how the bank is performing. In addition to deciding where they will save and invest their money.

“When you deposit money in your bank account or invest, financial institutions use this to offer credit to various businesses, and some of these can be very detrimental to animals,” says Among.

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