Profundo – Case study: Dutch banking groups and shipbreaking. A report for the Fair Bank Guide


“With the help of this case study, the Eerlijke Bankwijzer (Fair Bank Guide) can assess whether the 11 most important banking groups in the Netherlands in their investment practices adhere to international standards regarding working conditions. The study focuses on the working conditions in shipbreaking yards. The purpose of this case study is to see whether and how the banking groups are concerned with the bad working conditions in the shipbreaking yards and what instruments they use to improve these conditions.

In addition, this study aims at providing information to banking groups to raise their awareness about the shipbreaking issue. The case study is conducted by the Fair Bank Guide, with FNV Mondiaal being the main responsible organisation.

The first step was to determine if the banking groups through their investments (lending and investments for own account and risk) and asset management (investments for third parties) can be involved with shipping companies that, over the past five years, have broken at least one ship in one of the five biggest ship recycling countries. With the banking groups that invested in these companies, we organised a structured interview to find out what instruments they use to improve the working conditions in the shipbreaking yards. The claims made during the interviews had to be supported by documentation such as policy, documents showing how banks screened the companies, and reports of meetings with these companies.

The activities of the banking groups are reviewed by comparing the research findings to a pre-determined score table which contains elements about screening, engagement, meetings and agreements about ship recycling, projects to facilitate responsible ship recycling and a commitment to improve the instruments. Each banking group received two scores; a score for banking investments and a score for asset management.”