FFA and GRAISEA Launch New Policy Brief Calling for Gender Transformation and HRDD in ASEAN’S Agriculture Sector

21 August 2023

On August 21, 2023, Fair Finance Asia (FFA) and Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in South-East Asia (GRAISEA) launched a new policy brief alongside the Sixth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Inclusive Business (IB) Summit in Bali, Indonesia. 

Titled, Rights and Risk-Based Due Diligence in Financing the ASEAN Agriculture Sector, the new policy brief details regional-level insights and recommendations aimed at accelerating the implementation of sustainable and responsible finance policies and practices that promote gender equality and human rights in the region’s food and agriculture sector. In particular, ASEAN is urged to integrate critical rights and risk-based elements and indicators into the ASEAN Taxonomy Version 2. 

Women workers and smallholder farmers contribute immensely to ASEAN’s agriculture sector, despite continuing to face significant gender inequalities and injustices (Photo: Oxfam in Cambodia)


The policy brief covers six recommendations for financial institutions: 

  • Comply with international conventions on respect for labor rights and women’s rights and integrate sustainability standards and regulations. 
  • Develop sector-specific policies for industries associated with significant environmental and social risks. 
  • Adopt a gender-responsive approach to Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) that adequately addresses the disproportionate impact of investments on women and girls. 
  • Enable access to remedy for those impacted by financing and investments. 
  • Collaborate on regional platforms and initiatives that promote responsible investment and best practices in inclusive and responsible agribusiness. 
  • Support and promote the adoption of binding legislation, national laws, and regulations that ensure responsible financing includes BHR at the national and regional level. 

The policy brief covers four recommendations for ASEAN Member States:  

  • Adopt a binding sustainable finance taxonomy that will uphold human rights and social standards. 
  • Adopt national HRDD regulation for the private sector and financial institutions in accordance with the UNGPs on BHR and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. 
  • Strengthen enforcement mechanisms to ensure that regional and national guidelines are fully adopted, and that compliance is monitored, evaluated, and reported. 
  • Improve women’s financial literacy and access to credit and financial products. 

This policy brief is a follow up to FFA-GRAISEA’s Understanding Financial Flows to Agriculture (2020), Harvesting Inequality: The Social Impact of Financial Institutions’ Investments in Asia’s Agribusinesses (2022), and Enabling Stronger Due Diligence in the ASEAN’s Financial Sector (2022). The latter was a joint policy brief submitted to the Royal Government of Cambodia, which Chaired the ASEAN in 2022. 

To read the full policy brief, click here

To read FFA-GRAISEA’s Understanding Financial Flows to Agriculture report, click here

To read FFA-GRAISEA’s Harvesting Inequality report, click here

To read FFA-GRAISEA’s Enabling Stronger Due Diligence in the ASEAN’ Financial Sector policy brief, click here

To learn more about FFA’s joint side event at the Sixth ASEAN IB Summit, click here