It Pays to Go Green

26 June 2012 - Business Line, Sunil K. Sinha

Sustainable business is not a mere slogan. It can make or break a brand.  The Rio Earth Summit or Rio+20 represents another milestone in an ongoing global effort to achieve sustainable development goals. The challenges emanating from population growth, high natural resource consumption, rising pollution and climate change can derail, or render India’s growth process unsustainable. Read More.

Green movement well-rooted 20 years after Earth Summit

19 June 2012 - Edmonton Journal

As many as 50,000 people and more than 100 heads of state have gathered in Rio de Janeiro to mark two anniversaries: the 40th anniversary of the first international meeting on environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Earth Summit on sustainable development, held in June 1992.  The current event, known as Rio+20, highlights areas of progress - from reducing some key air pollutants in Canada and other industrialized countries to drastically curbing the global use of ozone-destroying chemicals. But it also underscores a long list of environmental conditions that show mounting deterioration, from problems affecting the planet's oceans to biodiversity loss and climate change. Read More.

Are Equator Principles Still Relevant after Rio+20 and UN PRI?

17 June 2012 - Prizma, Mehrdad Nazari

The 2003 launch of the Equator Principles signaled a virtuous spiral for environmental and social risk management in project finance. In light of Rio+20 and emergence of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment are the EPs still relevant? A couple of recent blog entries in The Guardian’s Rio+20: the Earth Summit diaries about the financial sector and Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), caught my eyes. They made me reflect on my experience working with multilateral financial institutions, project finance banks, export credit agencies - typically ‘Equator Banks’ - and my involvement in risky capital developments in emerging markets. Read More.

Environment: Risk assessment skills can produce dividend for nature

13 June 2012 – Financial Times, Sarah Murray

With many banks struggling for their own survival, they could be forgiven for putting saving the environment lower on the agenda.  However, some argue that because of the need for companies to manage growing constraints on natural resources, now is the time for the financial sector to play a bigger role in supporting a green economy. Read More.

Equator Principles and Nigeria’s Financial Industry

5 June 2012 - Detail Solicitors

The EPs are an exemplary model for responsible banking and provide an excellent benchmark for assessing corporate social responsibility by financial institutions. Financial institutions in Nigeria must be prepared to accept the price of higher project screening and investigation costs, rejection of financially rewarding projects, and increased exposure to environmental monitoring, in the interest of social and environmental sustainability. The EPs have greatly impacted environmental law as the EPs combine a performance-based and a process-oriented approach and ultimately ensure socially responsible investments. The EPs are expected to be an effective tool of managing the interaction of businesses and the environment. Read More.

Mining Co. Works to Compensate Villagers after Destroying Homes

29 May 2012 – Daily Observer, Edwin M. Fayia III

A British-based mineral company operating in Grand Cape Mount County, Aureus Mining Company (AMC), has begun verifying over 300 persons whose houses and cash were affected by the company’s expansion program in Konjor, Gola Konneh District. ... the AMC leadership also pointed out that the Equator Principles require that a project be assessed in terms of the potential impacts on the environment.  Other partners involved in the AMC project in terms of observing genuine norms are the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to observe performance standards and the World Bank Sectoral Guidelines. Read More.

Private Equity Investors Should Look to Environmental and Social Sustainability

17 May 2012 – Huffington Post, Lars  Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC - World Bank Group

Investors of all stripes are moving more of their money into developing countries, including the poorest and least developed countries. It makes sense. Economic growth in the developing world has outpaced that of the developed world for several years. Rising middle classes in emerging markets will likely accelerate this trend in the decades to come. So it is no surprise that private equity firms are following stock market investors into the frontier markets. Read More.

Keeping an eye on China’s bankers

14 May 2012 – China Dialogue, Wang Haotong

The financial industry remains secretive about the loans it makes, but tireless campaigning by green groups offers hope for change. Wang Haotong reports on the latest civil-society assessment of Chinese banks. ... Whether or not banks subscribe to international environmental norms is an important marker of their performance in this area. But the number of Chinese financial institutions adopting global green-lending standards has stayed stubbornly low. Industrial Bank has outstripped its peers here, having signed up to the Equator Principles – a voluntary set of standards for assessing social and environmental risk in project financing – as well as the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project, a scheme that tracks the carbon emissions and climate actions of the world’s biggest firms. Read More.

Exorcising the Resource Curse: Some Innovative Ideas

27 April 2012 - Council on Foreign Relations, Stewart M. Patrick

Among the many frustrations in development, perhaps none looms larger than the “resource curse.” Perversely, the worst development outcomes—measured in poverty, inequality, and deprivation—are often found in those countries with the greatest natural resource endowments. Rather than contributing to freedom, broadly shared growth, and social peace, rich deposits of oil and minerals have often brought tyranny, misery, and insecurity to these nations. Read More.

Banks to get a green sheen

27 April 2012 - Financial Review, Australia, John Roskam

Soon there will be something else to beat up the banks about. Politicians will have more than just interest rate rises, billion-dollar profits and CEO salaries to get upset about. Banking and biodiversity will be the new battleground. … regulating the banks themselves could potentially stop entire categories of projects, not just particular projects, as happens now. And the sort of projects that have the most impact on biodiversity are the sort of projects the country is more in need of – namely infrastructure and specifically roads and ports. Read More.