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Review of Equator Principles begins

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By Environmental Finance | London, Oct 24 2010

A strategic review of the Equator Principles (EPs) - a set ofenvironmental and social criteria for responsible project finance -started this week.

The 65 financial institutions that have signed up to Equator, togetherwith other stakeholders, will be asked for feedback on how useful theprinciples have been and how they should evolve.

"Through seven years of proven success and impressive growth, the EquatorPrinciples framework has served us well," said Shawn Miller, globaldirector of environmental and social risk management at Citi and chairmanof the Equator Principles Association.

However, he said the financial sector has changed considerably over theyears, while society's focus on environmental and social issues hasincreased.

"Our goal is to ensure the EPs continue to be the ‘go-to' environmentaland social risk management standard for the financial sector and ourclients," he added.

One topic likely to crop up in the review is the extension of theprinciples beyond project finance. "Do you keep and maintain the EPs justfor project finance, or are there other products out there that the EPscould be overlaid or relevant to?" Miller said.

The review will also help the association prepare for the update in theInternational Finance Corporation's (IFC's) Performance Standards, onwhich the EPs are based, which is due to be completed by mid-2011. The EP sreview will continue into the first quarter of 2011.

This is the first strategic review of the EPs, Miller said, although thecontent was substantially updated in 2006 following a previous IFCPerformance Standards review. Also, in July this year, the EquatorPrinciples Association formalised its governance rules.

Managing the review will be Environmental Resources Management, a globalenvironmental consultancy, and Suellen Lazarus, a sustainable bankingconsultant who has been involved in the EPs since they were created in2003, when she was with the IFC.    

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