Respecting human rights in our business activities has been a priority at Citi for more than a decade. In the last two years, however, we have learned important lessons that have increased our awareness and accelerated our response to these issues. Through our experience and engagement with stakeholders, we have taken steps to improve policies and processes that will better equip us in promoting the full realization of human rights for all those touched by our business.
We work diligently to ensure that the human rights of our employees, suppliers and those affected by the projects we finance are respected and to engage with stakeholders and partners to understand the global landscape to continuously improve our approach. In 2017, we undertook a review of our Statement on Human Rights and expect to release an update in 2018, which will include additional guidance related to modern slavery and human rights defenders.
As part of the Equator Principles update process, Citi is participating in the Equator Principles social risks working group, which aims to strengthen the way banks evaluate client stakeholder engagement, including risks related to issues that affect Indigenous Peoples. In addition, as we seek to improve our response to human rights risks across our portfolio, we will continue researching emerging technologies that improve the effectiveness of grievance mechanisms and seek opportunities to work with our clients to implement those technologies as appropriate. An emerging issue Citi is paying increasingly close attention to is the role of human rights defenders. Whether they are community leaders, human rights activists, journalists or NGOs, these people do important work to advance human rights issues and expose abuses by governments, companies and others, which helps inform our own human rights due diligence. Defenders’ voices draw attention to important issues of which Citi and other financial institutions need to be aware so we can ask the right questions, enhance our client and transaction screenings and work with clients to address any potential impacts related to projects we finance.