May 27, 2004
The Equator Principles and Other Initiatives Addressing the Environmental and Social Impacts of Projects in Developing Markets
In recent years, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has led the development of policies and guidelines that aim to identify and mitigate the environmental and social impacts that can arise from large infrastructure, energy and resource extraction projects in developing countries. In December 2003, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reached agreement on new environmental review and disclosure procedures for national export credit agencies (ECAs). In the private sector, 20 leading banks have now subscribed to the “Equator Principles” under which participating banks have agreed to require borrowers to adhere to IFC environmental and social guidelines, as a condition to the financing of large projects, thereby greatly expanding the reach of IFC policies and pollution control standards.
On May 27, 2004, ELI held an Associate Seminar to discuss the significance of these developments to lenders, project sponsors and other stakeholders. Panelists included, Motoko Aizawa (Corporate Policy Advisor, Environmental and Social Development Department, International Finance Corporation), Paul E. Hagen (Director, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.), Bruce Rich (Director, International Programs, Environmental Defense) and Steven Tvardek (Director, Office of Trade and Finance, US Treasury). The panel examined the role that public financial institutions and private banks are likely to play in promoting sustainable development going forward. Charles E. Di Leva (Lead Counsel, ESSD and International Law, The World Bank Legal Department); moderated the discussion.