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Our approach to human rights and labour law

Man buying takeaway.

For SEB, respecting human rights and labour law is part of responsible business practice. Through our activities we have direct or indirect impact on employees, clients, portfolio companies and suppliers.

We believe in children’s, women’s and men’s equal rights and that diversity is a resource that shall be supported, respected and utilised. Equal rights and opportunities shall be irrespective of gender, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, transgender identity or expression, sexual orientation or disability. Read about SEB’s approach to Inclusion and diversity.

We commit to the UN Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Core Conventions on Labour Standards and Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

While trying to enhance our positive impact on human rights and labour law, we aim to avoid causing, contributing to, or being directly linked to adverse human rights impact, and we strive to identify and assess areas where we can potentially have negative impact through our business relations.

Interaction in our business

Within financing

We engage with our customers on human rights and labour law  in order to understand their challenges and opportunities so that we can make the appropriate credit considerations and to be a better business partner.

We assess the risk for human rights violations in accordance with SEB’s Human Rights Policy and international agreements. Based on prioritisation, proportionality and leverage, we act on findings to prevent, mitigate and remediate actual and potential  impact. Human rights and labour law aspects are also considered in SEB’s product development and offerings as well as in procurement decisions along with commercial aspects.

A customer with low human rights ambitions, that might expose people to, for example, danger or violations, might harm human beings and as a consequence present a credit risk for the bank.

Within investments

All SEB funds follow the core sustainability criteria and do not invest in companies that verifiably breach international norms regarding human rights and labour law, and are not willing to solve the situations that cause the breaches. We also engage directly in dialogues, or through collaborations with other investors or partners, with companies’ management and boards of directors regarding how to make improvements within these areas. Read more here.

Our approach to child labour and forced labour

We are committed to the principles of protecting children and other vulnerable groups from any forms of exploitation such as child labour or forced labour. We acknowledge that we through our business activities have a potential impact on child labour and forced labour issues. We strive to identify and mitigate the exposure to risks related to these areas and to influence our clients and portfolio companies to have appropriate labour policies and monitoring systems of sufficient quality.

Read more in SEB’s Position Statement on Child Labour and Modern Slavery Act.

We are also a member of the Swedish Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children which seeks to prevent and obstruct payments for child abuse through the Swedish financial system.

Right to privacy

The right to privacy is a universal human right and the trust of our customers is based on respect for and protection of their privacy. SEB is working actively to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU reformed data protection legislation which has strengthened individuals’ rights in terms of how their data is handled by companies. This is an important part of what we as a bank take into account in the relationship with our customers.

In SEB, we always treat the information that our customers entrust us with in a careful and responsible manner. Our privacy policy explains, among other things, which of the personal data we process, why we process them, how we collect them and how long we save the data. Read about Information on processing personal data (in Swedish)

Labour law in SEB

SEB’s employees are covered by central cross-sector collective agreements and local company-specific collective agreements. SEB has a European works council (EWC) with representatives from all EU and EEA countries in which the bank is active. The representatives are elected in accordance with Swedish legislation and are in proportion to the number of employees employed in each EEA (European Economic Area) country where we are represented.

Employees are also represented on SEB’s Board of Directors through two directors and two deputy directors. All organisational changes in Sweden are negotiated with employee representatives

Any reorganisations or layoffs are handled in accordance with applicable laws, collective agreements, special procedures and redundancy agreements that have been agreed upon with the unions. Training and support are offered both to employees and managers who are involved in a reorganisation. Employees also get support in finding new work, whether internally or externally.

Our suppliers

We are convinced that having suppliers with high performance as regards social aspects creates greater value for us as well as for our customers. In our Supplier Code of Conduct we express the importance of having a sustainable supply chain and what we expect from our suppliers. In our risk assessment of suppliers, human rights and labour law  are among the evaluation criteria.

We expect our suppliers to operate in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate, manufacture or conduct business. Read more about Working with our suppliers.