Press Release: The Equator Principles Association Launches Strategic Review Process

19 October 2010

The Equator Principles (EP) Association is pleased to announce today, 19 October 2010, the launch of a Strategic Review process intended to produce a multi-year strategic vision to ensure the EPs continue to be viewed as the “gold standard” in environmental and social risk management for project finance within the financial sector. There has been a significant growth in the number of EPs adopters since its inception in 2003, growing from ten initial adopters to over 65 financial institutions from around the globe, making the EPs a leading and respected voluntary standard for the financial sector.

As the Association has grown significantly and the number of EPs adopters continues to expand, so have the social and environmental challenges that concern and impact communities and the environment. All the while, the financial crisis continues to influence the market. The Review process will allow the Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) to assess the EPs’ progress to date and identify future challenges and opportunities in order to address these issues effectively in partnership with clients, and by listening to all stakeholder perspectives.

Shawn Miller, Citi’s Global Director of Environmental and Social Risk Management and the Association’s current Chair said:

“Through seven years of proven success and impressive growth, the Equator Principles (EPs) framework has served us well. During this period, the financial sector’s landscape has changed considerably, while society’s attention and focus on environmental and social issues has increased. Our goal is to ensure the EPs continue to be the “go-to” environmental and social risk management standard for the financial sector and our clients. We encourage all stakeholders to provide their candid feedback during the Review process so that the EPs continue to help us manage our risk effectively while respecting people and planet.”

The Review will help the Association:

  • take stock of the current state of the EPs and develop a better understanding of the challenges and successes to-date,
  • identify perceived areas of strength and weakness in the current EP framework through engagement with EPFIs and other stakeholders including clients and industry, civil society, and financial sector peers,
  • prioritise recommended action points that will lead to the successful implementation of the vision/plan, and
  • prepare for a likely update of the EPs in 2011 following the conclusion of the IFC Performance Standards Review and Update process

Following a competitive bidding process, the EPFI Steering Committee has selected leading global environmental consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), in partnership with independent sustainable banking consultant Suellen Lazarus, to manage the Review on the Association’s behalf, and synthesize feedback for consideration. ERM has solid on-the-ground project review experience and world-class expertise in advising EPFIs and their client base on EP compliance.

While the Association will elicit targeted feedback from EPFIs, financial sector peers, clients and industry bodies, and civil society, it also welcomes additional feedback from interested parties.

The Review will commence immediately and will continue through to the first quarter of 2011. The Review’s findings and recommendations will help the Association prepare for a likely update of the Equator Principles later in 2011 following the conclusion of the IFC Performance Standards Review and Update process. To increase the Association’s transparency and ensure the credibility of the Review, a summary of the findings and recommendations will be made available to the public following discussion and agreement by the EPFI Steering Committee at the conclusion of the Review process.