Tag Archives: Equator Principles Association



Additional Grace Period For EP4 Transition To Reflect Covid-19 Challenges

May 18, 2020 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 18 May 2020

In November 2019 the Equator Principles Association released the latest iteration of the Equator Principles, ‘EP4’. EP4 was due to come into effect for all EPFIs on 1 July 2020, however, we find ourselves in unprecedented times.

The Association has carefully considered how best to proceed with EP4 when many member financial institutions are facing ongoing practical challenges caused by the Covid-19 situation. In light of these challenges, the EP Association has approved a 3 month extension of the current transition period, meaning that all EPFIs must now implement EP4 by 1 October 2020.

This extension provides a short delay that allows an additional ‘grace’ period for those EPFIs not able to implement by 1 July 2020 due to the extenuating circumstances, while also ensuring that the EPA is able to push forward with implementing EP4 this year. The EPA is working to finalise guidance that will be available to support EPFIs and stakeholders to implement EP4.

Some EPFIs are already implementing EP4, and the Association continues to encourage any EPFI that is in a position to implement any time prior to 1 October 2020 to do so. All EPFIs will be required to implement EP4 on any new Projects (including term sheets or mandates) signed on/after 1 October 2020.

 

 

Equator Principles Association and IFC join forces to build capacity of banks on environmental and social risk management

February 4, 2020 EP Association News, EP In The Media

Paris, 4 February 2020

Building on nearly two decades of collaboration, The Equator Principles Association (EPA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) today announced they are officially joining efforts to help strengthen the capacity of financial institutions to manage environmental and social risk in line with IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards.

IFC’s Performance Standards are the most comprehensive and practical approach to managing environmental and social risks for private investments in emerging markets, and are considered an international benchmark. The Equator Principles, launched in 2003 and now adopted by 101 financial institutions from 38 countries, were based on IFC’s Performance Standards. The principles provide a framework for financial institutions to manage environmental and social risk in projects. Over the years, the Equator Principles signatories have drawn from IFC’s extensive technical resources and have worked closely with IFC to develop practitioner knowledge on environmental and social risk management.

Today, at a coordination meeting, the EPA and IFC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), outlining the collaboration’s key tenet – to expand existing training and capacity building on Performance Standards.

At the MOU signing in Paris, alongside the OECD Financial Institutions Practitioners Workshop, Chair of the Equator Principles Amit Puri of Standard Chartered, noted:

“The EPA has for many years benefited from the considerable effort the IFC has invested in developing and updating the industry leading Performance Standards and associated guidance. With more than 100 members in the EPA comprised of commercial banks, development banks and export credit agencies in all of IFC’s regional markets, we are proud to be formalising efforts with the IFC to develop capacity building and training on these benchmark standards. Our objective is to ensure that all EPA members apply the Performance Standards and related technical resources – which capture invaluable and critical insights from numerous practitioners and experts around the world – with the rigour and consistency with which they are intended and spread good practice amongst financial institutions wherever feasible.”

Mary Peschka Porter, IFC’s Director of the Environment, Social & Governance (ESG), commented that:

“The rapid adoption of the Equator Principles over the past 16 years demonstrates the clear ambition of the global financial community to promote environmental and social standards and accelerate sustainability efforts. Seizing this momentum is critical – particularly in emerging markets where embedding sustainable finance in the practices of local financial institutions can prove challenging. Through our formalized collaboration, IFC and EPA can more systematically bridge the technical gaps in ESG knowledge that remain in project diligence and portfolio management, helping strengthen the capacity of financial institutions and build sustainable financial markets.”

Following the MOU signing, a joint work plan will be developed and implemented over the coming years.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For EPA – Primary Contact: Jessica Smith

Email: secretariat@equator-principles.com

Telephone: +44 7882 286140

For IFC – Primary Contact: Kathryn Graczyk

E-mail: kgraczyk@ifc.org

Telephone: +1 202 473 3822

FURTHER INFO:

About EPA

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 fourth version of the Principles was released in November 2019 with an effective date of 1 July 2020: https://equator-principles.com/ep4/.

The Equator Principles (EPs) Association is the unincorporated association of member Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) whose object is the management, administration and development of the EPs. Its Capacity Building and Training Working Group is co-led by ING and Banco Santander.

See https://equator-principles.com/.

About IFC

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

 

Equator Principles Annual Meeting 2019 – Meeting Outcomes

November 28, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 28 November 2019

The Equator Principles Association Annual Meeting was held in Singapore on 18-20 November with attendees from over 60 Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs).

Launch of EP4

The fourth iteration of the Equator Principles (“EP4”) was launched at the opening of the Annual General Meetingand accompanied with a statement recognising the enormous support and contributions from a range of partners and stakeholders to the review.

The Steering Committee reported that there was a high turnout on the member vote (approx. 85), and 98.7% of participants voted in favour of the strengthened requirements. Taken together, this is considered an endorsement that, while resulting from a challenging process, the final EP4 succeeds in balancing a range of perspectives and circumstances. Ultimately the new Principles move global best practice for environmental & social risk in Projects a step forward.

Feedback to stakeholders

A document was released alongside EP4 that responds to the feedback received over the two-year review period. The document specifies how the many elements raised during the review of the Principles have been addressed in the final text of EP4. In other cases, the Association felt that certain elements would be more appropriately addressed via Governance Rules updates, training, or other efforts.

The Association has previously committed to more frequent but targeted reviews of the Principles. The Steering Committee will monitor for issues to cover in future reviews either of the Principles themselves or the associated guidance.

Chair handover and recognition

Standard Chartered was appointed the Chair of the EP Association Steering Committee on 21 November. This means that Standard Bank has now stepped down as the longest-serving Chair in the history of the Association (from 2015 to 2019). To mark this contribution, the Association awarded Nigel Beck of Standard Bank the Shawn Miller Award for EPA Leadership.  (Shawn was a previous Chair of the Assocition from from Citi who led the EPIII review).

The Association recognised Standard Chartered for the great leadership they have demonstrated by stepping up to this critical and voluntary role.

101 members

The Association welcomed DBS as the first member from South East Asia, and who brings the Association beyond 100 members. The intent of holding the meeting in this region was to facilitate awareness amongst financial institutions in Singapore but also neighbouring countries including Viet Nam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, China and others which represent a significant share of the Project Finance market.

Beyond EP4

The meeting affirmed that the Association’s priority areas include improving internal consistency and robustness of application, and strengthened EPFI accountability. The incoming Chair has made refreshing the Association’s strategy their top priority, recognising the increasingly dynamic landscape of sustainable finance.

The strategy will maintain the EPs as a multi-lateral risk management framework, rather than a policy-setting body. In line with the Op Ed released in August members will continue to set their own level of risk appetite, according to the commercial and other circumstances that they individually face.

Support for EP4 effective date

In the coming months EP4 working groups will be developing associated guidance to support relevant stakeholders in the implementation by the effective date of 1 July 2020. Further communications will be released over the coming months on this topic.

A strengthened Equator Principles, and new leadership for the Association

November 18, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

Singapore, 18 November 2019

Today the updated version of the Equator Principles (EP), EP4, was adopted by the Equator Principles Association and represent the fourth iteration of the Principles since their inception in 2003.

The intent of the Principles remains to set the financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in Project Financing.

Following the commitment by the Association (in October 2017) to review and update the EPs (the first revision outside of an IFC Performance Standard update cycle) the Association has undertaken a process involving extensive dialogue with a wide variety of stakeholders – including its own EPFIs,  EPFI clients, industry bodies, NGOs, civil society and other investors. In addition, the Association has engaged third parties to provide additional support and credible independence throughout the consultation phases, including ERM, Shift, Norton Rose Fulbright and BSR. Key contributions from the stakeholder consultation phases are available on the EP website.

All stakeholder feedback was reviewed in detail and debated amongst members and, where appropriate,  incorporated into the final EP4 language.  Amendments and new commitments have been made in relation to the following topics:  human rights, climate change, Indigenous Peoples and biodiversity. The scope of the EPs has also been extended to capture more Project-related transactions. Outstanding items will be further explored through guidance documentation or will be tabled for strategic EPA discussions going forwards, as indicated in a response document released today.

These new Principles will be formally launched with members at the EP Association Annual General Meeting in Singapore. The event will also celebrate the Association’s growth to more than 100 members.

These milestones come at the same time as the Association hands over leadership: Standard Chartered will be the new chair of the Equator Principles Association until 2021. The appointment will take effect on 21 November 2019.

The appointment means that Standard Bank, who have been in the Chair since June 2015, step down as the as the longest-serving Chair in Equator Principles history.

Nigel Beck, Head of Sustainable Finance at Standard Bank, and outgoing Chair of the EP Association Steering Committee said;

“For fifteen years, the EPs has been the leading framework insuring that the environmental and social impacts of large-scale project finance deals are minimised and managed responsibly. EP4 responds to a rapidly changing sustainable finance landscape and pushes our members further than before. As the Association moves into a new era, focused on refreshing our strategy and looking to the wider landscape, it’s opportune to hand over the reins. We wish Standard Chartered well and will provide our ongoing support to them in the endeavour of keeping the Equator Principles at the forefront of sustainable and responsible finance”.

Mercedes Sotoca, Head of Environmental and Social Risk Management. ING Bank, and one of the EP4 process coordinators with JP Morgan, said;

“EP4 is a welcome update of the Principles which comes after an intensive two-year review. It balances the interests of a diverse group of stakeholders who contributed to its development, and ultimately moves the Equator Principles a step forward. We look forward to working together with clients and fellow EPFIs to implement EP4 next year.”

Taking on the Chair role, Amit Puri, Global Head of Environmental and Social Risk Management, Standard Chartered, said; 

“We are honoured to be leading the Association at a time of acute focus on environmental and social issues. The Equator Principles are the gold standard for managing environmental and social risks, demonstrated by the fact they have been adopted by more than 100 global financial institutions. We thank Standard Bank for their exceptional leadership and look forward to their continued support and guidance.”

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For EP4 – Primary Contact: Jessica Smith

Email: secretariat@equator-principles.com
Telephone: +44 7882 286140

For Standard Chartered – Primary Contact: Bart Nash

E-mail:  bart.nash@sc.com

Phone:+44 207 885 7598

Mobile:  +44 7789 397 457

 

FURTHER INFO:

About EP4

The final EP4 document and a summary of stakeholder input received during the consultation period, plus EPA’s response to those recommendations, can be found at www.equator-principles.com/ep4.

For further information about the EPs contact the EP Secretariat by email at secretariat@equator-principles.com or visit https://www.equator-principles.com.

About Standard Chartered

We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in 60 of the world’s most dynamic markets, and serving clients in a further 85. Our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, Here for good.

Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

For more stories and expert opinions please visit Insights at sc.com. Follow Standard Chartered on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

For further information go to www.standardchartered.com.

Consultation on the draft of EP4: full report released

November 5, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 05 November 2019

Earlier this year, BSR conducted external stakeholder consultations on behalf of the Equator Principles Association on the draft text of EP4. This consultation process involved 150 people attending a series of in-person and webinar events, as well as more than 60 written submissions.
Below is the full report produced by BSR, which details the results of the consultation process and provides recommendations to address the comments raised by stakeholders.
The Association wishes to thank again all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process and provided valuable feedback on the draft text,  which is being taken into consideration for the final version.
It remains the intention of the EPA to launch EP4 in Q4 2019. We will keep stakeholders updated with progress as we get closer to the launch.

Completion of external consultation on EP4 draft text

September 20, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 20 September 2019

The recent external stakeholder consultation on the draft text of EP4 was conducted on behalf of the EPA by BSR. They have now completed the consultation process and their recommendations are with the Association for consideration as we look to finalise the text of EP4.

The draft text of EP4 was released on 24 June 2019 and stakeholder feedback closed on 23 August 2019 (deadline extended following stakeholder feedback).

During that time, BSR held 6 face-to-face meetings and 4 webinars with industry and non-industry stakeholders to solicit feedback on the detail of the draft text. Further feedback was also received via email or through the EP website. In summary:

  • 151 people across 90 organisations attended an event
  • 63 detailed written submissions representing the views of 251 organisations were received (some submissions were co-signed by multiple parties).

The EPA thanks all of those that took time to submit written feedback and/or attend an event. Your input is appreciated as we seek to update the text of EP4 before a final vote by members later this year. A report of the findings of the consultation process will be published once the EPA has agreed how to respond to the recommendations.

It remains the intention of the EPA to launch EP4 in Q4 2019. We will keep stakeholders updated with progress as we get closer to the launch.

Op Ed: The value of maintaining Equator Principles as a risk management framework

August 12, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 12 August 2019

A review of the fourth version of the Equator Principles (EP4) is currently ongoing: equator-principles.com/ep4.  The deadline for comment on the draft of EP4 has been extended to 23 August.

We greatly appreciate the level of engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders which has resulted in both positive feedback and constructive criticism. All comments provided will be duly considered and discussed while finalising the EP4 text. 

As part of this process, several stakeholders have questioned the ambition level of the EP4 update, and have suggested the EPs shift from a risk framework to a policy platform.

We understand the rationale for these suggestions — indeed this was discussed extensively at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of EPFIs. We concluded that the EPs add the most value in remaining true to our original design as a risk management framework for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects.

The EPA includes nearly 100 commercial banks, development banks, and export credit agencies, who have varying geographical footprints, sizes and mandates. All are subject to their own policies as well as the laws and regulations in the countries in which they operate. It is up to each EPFI to set the ambition of their own policies and risk appetite. Each EPFI is also able to participate in various policy-setting initiatives and associations external to the Equator Principles.

The strength of the EPs and their market positioning is in setting a minimum common framework to help financial institutions come together to assess and manage environmental and social risks in project-related financings. Keeping in mind EPA’s commitment to adhere to a regular and periodic update cycle of the Principles, we will continue to evaluate this focus in future updates.

 The Steering Committee and EP4 working group leads of the Equator Principles Association 

EP4 draft shared, stakeholder consultation begins

June 24, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 24 June 2019

Following extensive internal review and consultation, as well as input from the initial round of public consultation, the draft text of Equator Principles 4 (EP4) is hereby released for consultation.

It is intended that this draft text be used as the basis for a formal round of public consultation, led on behalf of the EP Association by BSR.

The public consultation period is expected to run from now until mid-August.

The EPA is committed and open to all stakeholder views and would like to encourage all interested parties via the ‘SUBMIT FEEDBACK’ button on https://equator-principles.com/ep4/, where you will also find more information about the EP4 process.

Following the end of the consultation period, the EPA will consider the findings and make further changes to the proposed text, as agreed by the membership, before holding a final vote on the revised Principles.

DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION Equator Principles version 4 – June 2019

Summary of changes in draft of EP4 for consultation

Notice: Fake EPA website

May 21, 2019 EP Association News, EP In The Media

London, 21 May 2019

The Equator Principles Association has been made aware of a website impersonating the Association. The impersonating site has released a fake version of EP4 and an incorrect message stating that three EPFIs have been de-listed for non-compliance.

The Equator Principles’ official website is: equator-principles.com (not .org or other). This should be referred to for any news from the EP Association.

The Secretariat can be contacted at secretariat [at] equator-principles.com for any verification.

 

Update – 27 May 2019

The website impersonating EPA has been updated to reflect that it was part of a campaign. It now points any member of the public to the real EPA website to share feedback regarding the development of EP4.

The Association welcomes any interested member of the public to share their views via the feedback form at equator-principles.com/ep4/. The page also contains a sign-up form for email updates, such as a notice when the forthcoming (real) EP4 draft text is posted for consultation.