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Modern Slavery Act Statement

Handelsbanken plc ('Handelsbanken')

The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires that certain organisations annually state the actions that they have taken to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking do not occur in their supply chains or in their operations. Handelsbanken’s view on sustainability, ethics, modern slavery and human trafficking is expressed in the following documents:

Actions taken in the last year

Our structure and supply chain

The Handelsbanken Group (‘Group’) has a supplier code of conduct for its major suppliers (the ‘Code’) and also holds ongoing dialogue with suppliers with sustainability a key feature. The Code defines the expectations Handelsbanken Group has of its suppliers and their subcontractors. The Code was implemented in 2016 for major suppliers in Sweden and during 2019, the Code was implemented in the UK. By the end of 2020 Group suppliers representing more than 75 percent of global purchases had signed the Code. 

In the UK, medium and high risk suppliers are subject to a rigorous due diligence which includes adverse media and financial and background checks. Handelsbanken regularly reviews the contractual terms in place with its preferred suppliers to ensure that they remain aware of their responsibilities and proactive in this area.

Detailed background checks are carried out by an independent firm prior to new employees commencing work with Handelsbanken, which would capture any criminal records in respect of slavery and human trafficking offences.

Policies on modern slavery

Sustainability is a vital part of the credit policy. The policy states that Handelsbanken’s lending must be responsible and meet high demands for sound ethical standards. Instructions are in place which require Handelsbanken to analyse and document sustainability risks in companies which borrow from it, including, amongst other things, each  company’s approach and governance in relation to human rights and working conditions.

Handelsbanken also operates various practices, procedures and policies to ensure compliance with all human rights laws and UK employment laws.

Risk assessment

In 2020 there were no reported instances of modern slavery within Handelsbanken or with suppliers. Handelsbanken has a zero-tolerance policy to any modern slavery and it regularly reviews policies and processes to ensure that any occurrences can be addressed. Should any instances of modern slavery be identified, it will be escalated to the relevant authorities and the employee or supplier will be immediately suspended.

Training on modern slavery

All employees at Handelsbanken completed Group-wide mandatory training on ethical standards and sustainability at Handelsbanken in 2020, including a training module on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing.

Instructions and procedures are in place, so that employees understand how they are to respond if they are faced with, or suspect, a case of modern slavery or human trafficking.

Modern slavery awareness

At Handelsbanken we have trust and respect for the individual and we encourage a culture of ‘speaking up’. Our  employees can report unethical behaviour or practices without fear of reprisal through internal and external channels set out in our whistleblowing policy. In the UK the whistleblowing policy is supported by annual training.

Measuring effectiveness

Handelsbanken will continue to develop its procedures and arrangements in relation to sustainability during 2021. A UK Sustainability Manager is now in place and a Sustainability Forum, comprised of central department representatives, as well as a Regional Sustainability Forum, have been set up to govern and develop Handelsbanken plc’s sustainability strategies.  

This statement has been published pursuant to section 54 (1) of the Modern Slavery Statement 2015 and constitutes Handelsbanken’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the 2020 financial year.  

Board approval

This statement was approved by the Board of Directors of Handelsbanken plc on 16 March 2021.

Mikael Sorensen
Chief Executive Officer
On behalf of Handelsbanken plc