Caja Navarra Adopts Equator Principles

14 August 2006

Caja Navarra assesses credits of more than ten million dollars in social and environmental terms

The institution adopts the new version of the Equator Principles

Caja Navarra has adopted the new Equator Principles, a more demanding version of the benchmark which aims to apply environmental and social criteria to project financing. The Equator Principles are a voluntary initiative promoted worldwide by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group. By adopting the Principles, financial institutions undertake to finance only those projects whose environmental and social risk comply with the criteria.

The new version of the Equator Principles introduces two main features. The social and environmental impact of all projects in which cost exceeds 10 million dollars shall be analysed, as opposed to the 50 million dollars catered for in the previous version. The new version also requires that EPFIs (Equator Principles Financial Institutions) report regularly on the application of the principles.

Only two Spanish financial institutions, one being Caja Navarra, have adopted this initiative, which involves 39 first-rate institutions from around the world.

In practice, Caja Navarra shall classify these projects into three categories of environmental or social risk -high, medium and low- and shall demand that certain precautionary measures be taken according to each risk threshold. These measures basically consist of requiring that borrowers receive a favourable Environmental and Social Assessment for projects classified as high or medium risk. If necessary, they must also draft an Environmental and Social Management Plan and set up a Monitoring Plan. If they fail to comply with these requisites, then they will not receive financing from Caja Navarra.

Social responsibility in Caja Navarra

Caja Navarra’s most important social responsibility initiative is ‘You Choose: You Decide’, by which the distribution of its social work budget (26.4 million euros in 2006) is left in the hands of its customers. As of this year, all Caja Navarra customers are given the chance to choose the specific social project they wish the profits generated by the institution to be put towards.

‘You Choose: You Decide’ won the award of best European CSR initiative for the involvement of interest groups on the 22nd of June at an event held in Brussels in which the 120 best European initiatives in Social Responsibility competed.

In April 2005, Caja Navarra signed the United Nations Global Compact, by which the institution undertakes to put ten principles involving human rights, environmental protection and the fight against corruption into practice. Caja Navarra is also a promoter-member of Fundación Forética and member of Fundación Empresa y Sociedad.

For the second year running, Caja Navarra has published a report on Social Responsibility, validated by the independent body AENOR. Both reports have received the maximum qualification (In Accordance) granted by the Global Reporting Initiative, the most demanding international standard in the field.