The Equator Principles

The Equator Principles (EPs) is a risk management framework, adopted by financial institutions, for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects and is primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence and monitoring to support responsible risk decision-making.

The EPs apply globally, to all industry sectors and to four financial products 1) Project Finance Advisory Services 2) Project Finance 3) Project-Related Corporate Loans and 4) Bridge Loans. The relevant thresholds and criteria for application is described in detail in the Scope section of the EPs.

Currently 92 Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) in 37 countries have officially adopted the EPs, covering the majority of international project finance debt within developed and emerging markets.

EPFIs commit to implementing the EPs in their internal environmental and social policies, procedures and standards for financing projects and will not provide Project Finance or Project-Related Corporate Loans to projects where the client will not, or is unable to, comply with the EPs.

While the EPs are not intended to be applied retroactively, EPFIs apply them to the expansion or upgrade of an existing project where changes in scale or scope may create significant environmental and social risks and impacts, or significantly change the nature or degree of an existing impact.

The EPs have greatly increased the attention and focus on social/community standards and responsibility, including robust standards for indigenous peoples, labour standards, and consultation with locally affected communities within the Project Finance market. They have also promoted convergence around common environmental and social standards. Multilateral development banks, including the  European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, and export credit agencies through the OECD Common Approaches are increasingly drawing on the same standards as the EPs.

The EPs have also helped spur the development of other responsible environmental and social management practices in the financial sector and banking industry (for example,  Carbon Principles in the US,  Climate Principles worldwide) and have provided a platform for engagement with a broad range of interested stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), clients and industry bodies.

Regarding Principle 3 (“Applicable Social and Environmental Standards”), refer to this page for the Designated Countries list.


EP III is available for download in the following languages:

Please note that these translations were carefully prepared to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the content, however, the EP Association does not accept any responsibility for omissions or discrepancies, and cannot guarantee that users will interpret the content as originally intended. The official version of EP III is published in English and users should refer to it should they have any doubts in their understanding.