Dutch bank ABN AMRO has acknowledged that as a financial services provider it must recognize the environmental, social, and ethical risks associated with animal protein production. Such risks include poor animal welfare, the overuse of antibiotics, biodiversity loss, and man-made greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), which are accelerating climate change.
Its Sustainability Risk Policy Framework is intended to help manage these risks “through proper due diligence and client engagement” and to set standards for clients involved in the animal protein industry.
The Bank now works only with businesses meeting the minimum standards set out in its Sustainability Requirements for Animal Protein Production policy or with those with plans to meet those standards.
It is committed to reducing the “GHG intensity of its loan portfolio” and, thus, no longer provides services to companies involved in large-scale (more than 500,000 animals) farming of cows, goats, and sheep because of the high emissions of methane, a GHG.
The Bank’s minimum standards require clients to have an animal welfare policy and monitoring system that addresses the five freedoms associated with animal welfare. They reference the FARMS and other certification schemes, such as Global Animal Partnership and Beter Leven, in relation to living space best practice. Bank clients must use cage-free and crate-free production systems. ABN AMRO suggests that clients use plant-based products to reduce their environmental and climate impacts.