Business and human rights at Deka

We place great importance on conscientiously respecting all human rights.Our Deka Code of Ethics also ensures that all employees always act ethically and morally correctly.

Human rights at the Deka Group

A wide range of international standards and principles provide the framework for safeguarding human rights – including the supply chain. We committed ourselves many years ago to a number of these principles and regulations which fit our business model and are internationally recognised:

Equator Principles

The Equator Principles are a voluntary set of rules issued by banks that comply with defined environmental and social standards in the area of project financing. As a participating institution, we undertake to finance only those projects in which the borrowers meet the environmental and social criteria of the Principles.

In the banking sector, respect for human rights is particularly important when financing infrastructure projects. This often involves dealing with local communities. In projects of this type, we adhere to the Equator Principles, thereby ensuring that all aspects of human rights are taken into account in our financing. We do this for two reasons: firstly, in order to avoid risks – both to the realisation of the projects and to the bank’s reputation. Secondly, to prevent negative consequences for the people affected by the financed projects.

ILO core labour standards

The ILO core labour standards are social standards within the framework of the world trade order. They are intended to guarantee humane working conditions and adequate protection. DekaBank observes the core labour standards in various areas:

DekaBank’s suppliers are obliged to comply with the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation. In addition, we do not provide financing to companies that violate the standards.

The entire Deka Group has put on its negative list the financing of companies that do not comply with the standards. These transactions may only be performed with special permission by the Board of Management.

UN Global Compact

We have supported the principles of the UN Global Compact since 2011. By committing ourselves to the ten principles, we obligate the bank, as part of responsible corporate governance, to respect human and labour rights, protect the environment and fight corruption and bribery. The principles refer to the aspects that are also defined as relevant in the CSR-RUG (CSR Directive Implementation Act).

Companies that sign the Global Compact should

  • respect internationally proclaimed human rights and promote their observance.
  • ensure that they do not play a role in human rights violations
  • respect the rights of their workers to engage in trade union activity and effectively recognise their right to collective bargaining. 
  • exclude all forms of forced or compulsory labour.
  • cooperate in the abolition of child labour.
  • eliminate all discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
  • gegen Gefährdungen der Umwelt vorsorgen.
  • take precautions against threats to the environment.
  • promote greater environmental awareness through initiatives. encourage the development and dissemination of environmentally friendly technologies.
  • work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

DekaBank has been using its own sustainability filter to assess its own new investments since 2014. In line with the UN Global Compact, the filter comprises a catalogue of exclusion criteria for the areas of the environment, human and labour rights and corruption.

Supplier declaration and sustainability declaration

We also ensure that human rights are respected in our supply chain. DekaBank has defined requirements for the selection of suppliers that guarantee sustainability both in the quality of the products and services purchased and in the management of suppliers and service providers.

We present our sustainability declaration to our suppliers for signature before we enter into a business relationship with them. Among other things, suppliers undertake to comply with the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Modern Slavery Act (MSA)

The United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 refers to the responsibility of companies to abolish slave labour in the supply chain. It obligates all companies doing business in the United Kingdom to make a declaration in which they indicate what measures they take to ensure that there is no “slave labour” in their supply chain. The Deka Group has provided such a declaration.
  • Code of Ethics
    binding for all employees
  • A+
    Top marks as part of Deka Investment’s PRI membership
  • For 85%
    of the procurement volume, sustainability declarations are available

The Deka Code of Ethics

Our Code of Ethics serves as a guideline for all employees, managers, members of the Board of Management and all those acting on behalf of the Deka Group. It is binding and ensures that everyone conducts him- or herself and acts ethically and morally.

If an employee does not comply with the Code of Ethics, this directly affects his or her salary: As part of the annual performance review, employees review with their manager whether they have behaved in accordance with the Code of Ethics. The variable remuneration may be reduced as a result of this review.

Particularly serious breaches of the Code of Ethics can lead to action under labour law, civil and criminal proceedings and even the termination of the contractual relationship.

Memberships in national and international initiatives

Deka is active in a large number of different industry initiatives and associations. Within this framework, we exchange views with other industry players on sustainability-related issues and develop joint solutions.

National initiatives

The Sustainable Finance Advisory Council of the German federal government was founded in 2019, and Ingo Speich, Head of the Sustainability and Corporate Governance Department of Deka Investment GmbH, was appointed as a member.
He is also a member of the Consultative Working Group (CWG) of the Investor Protection and Intermediaries Standing Committee (IPISC) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and a member of the DVFA Commission Governance & Stewardship. The Sustainable Finance Advisory Council is committed to responsible interaction between companies and investors in the German capital market.

The Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany (GSFCG) has been active since 2018. The Hub for Sustainable Finance (H4SF), established in summer 2017 by Deutsche Börse and the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), is an open network of financial market players and other stakeholders who actively contribute to a sustainable financial system in Germany.

DekaBank has been involved in the Verein für Umweltmanagement und Nachhaltigkeit in Finanzinstituten e.V. (VfU; Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability in Financial Institutions) since 2007. Johannes Behrens-Türk, Head of Sustainability Management at DekaBank, has been a voluntary member of the VfU’s Board of Management since 2016. DekaBank is also a member of Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen e.V. (FNG; Forum for Sustainable Investment) and the Corporate Responsibility Interface Center e.V. (CRIC), a non-profit association for the promotion of ethics and sustainability in financial investments.

International initiatives

As part of its PRI membership, Deka Investment GmbH participates in joint initiatives with other global investors. In 2019, for example, it supported a campaign focussed on the topics of cobalt and human rights. As part of this campaign, Deka called on German automotive companies to make the supply chain for cobalt procurement more transparent. Only in this way can violations of human rights be better identified and combated.

Other international initiatives:

  • Deka Investment GmbH has joined the British initiative Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR). It collects data on the sustainability standards of companies in factory farming and industrial agriculture.
  • DekaBank has been a member of the ICMA’s Green Bond Principles since 2016. These principles serve internationally as a guideline for the issue process of “green securities”.
  • DekaBank has been a partner of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) since the end of 2018. The aim of the initiative is to integrate the international bond market more closely into the financing of climate protection and to support the market development of green and climate bonds.