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 five financial products: 1) Project Finance Advisory Services, 2) Project Finance, 3) Project-Related Corporate Loans, and 4) Bridge Loans and 5) Project-Related Refinance, and Project-Related Acquisition Finance . The relevant thresholds and criteria for application is described in detail in the Scope section of the EPs.

Currently 123 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 and have supported member banks in developing their own Environmental and Social Risk Management Systems.

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

The EPs are updated periodically. The latest iteration, EP4, was released on 18 November 2019. It came into effect for all EPFIs on 1 October 2020 and is supported by a suite of Guidance.


EP4 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 EP4 is published in English and users should refer to it should they have any doubts in their understanding.