Scotiabank Adopts Equator Principles, Reinforces Commitment to Environmental Risk Management and Sustainable Development

Toronto - 18 January 2005

Scotiabank today adopted the Equator Principles, a set of internationally recognized, voluntary project finance guidelines that establish social and environmental standards in the banking industry.

"Scotiabank recognizes the serious global environmental challenges faced by our society," said Rick Waugh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Scotiabank. "In our role as a major financial services provider, we support the principles of sustainable development and we are pleased to have joined other leading international banks in adopting the Equator Principles."

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Banco de Brasil Adopts Equator Principles

Brasilia - 03 March 2005

Bank meets international criteria established for project analysis processes utilized for investments equal or more than US$50 million.

Banco do Brasil is the first official bank to join Brazilian financial institutions that meet the Equator Principles. Criteria established by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, were incorporated into analysis procedures for investment projects with a value equal or more than US$50 million.

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IFC Responds to Financial Institutions

Washington D.C. - 24 January 2005

Following a call from financial institutions to extend the time period for the Safeguard Policy review, the IFC has extended the public consultation period to 29 April 2005.

Dear Equator Banks,

I am writing in response to your letter dated 14 December, 2004, and to thank you for receiving IFC at WestLB’s offices in New York the previous week. I would like to respond to some of the points you offered in your letter.

I believe that your concerns have been largely addressed by our decision to extend the original 17 December deadline for the close of public consultation, and with the planned release of the Guidance Notes, formerly called Interpretation Notes, on 31 January, 2005. The public consultation will now close on 29 April, 2005, to allow sufficient time for the Performance Standards to be studied side by side with the Guidance Notes. An indicative draft policy will also be released on 31 January, showing the range of external comments received during the consultation.

Your commitment to work closely with IFC in an iterative fashion is greatly welcomed, and the outcome will, I believe, ensure that the Performance Standards are appropriate for use by private-sector financial institutions, including Equator, as well as for IFC in its leadership role as a development institution.

IFC looks forward to continuing close and detailed dialogue with the Equator Principles’ banks, so that together we can make great strides in social and environmental sustainability and development impact.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Kyte

Director

Environment & Social Development Department

-2- January 24, 2005

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Banco Itau S.A.
Bank of America, N.A.
Barclays plc
BBVA, S.A.
Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank
Citigroup Inc.
Dexia Group
Credit Suisse First Boston
Eksport Kredit Fonden
HSBC Group
HVB Group
KBC Bank N.V.
Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd.
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
Standard Chartered Bank
WestLB AG

-3- January 24, 2005

bcc: Messrs. Bulmer, Cowan, Ms. Aizawa

 

The Equator Principles: A Call to Action

London - November 2004 - London Bullion Market Association, Gerard Holden

I hope that many of you reading this article will have heard of the Equator Principles. But for those who have not – and who haven’t had the misfortune of sitting through one of my speeches at yet another conference in some delightful tropical location – the Equator Principles are a series of guidelines designed to help financial institutions manage environmental and social issues in mining. Originally adopted in April 2003 by four institutions – ABN Amro, Barclays, Citibank and WestLB – the list of financial institutions adopting the Equator Principles now totals 27. Editorial Comment by Gerard Holden, Managing Director, Mining & Metals, Barclays Capital. Read more 

 

Unibanco Adopts Social and Environmental Criteria for Approving Credits

Sao Paulo - 1 June 2004

Unibanco is the first Brazilian – and the first emerging market – bank to start complying with the Equator Principles

Unibanco is reinforcing the social and environmental dimensions of its activities. In June, the bank starts adopting the so-called Equator Principles, a set of social and environmental criteria used to evaluate and approve credits for infrastructure projects.

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EIB Subscribes to the Equator Principles for Projects Outside the European Union

Luxembourg - 28 May 2004

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is a public institution driven by the policy objectives of the European Union (EU). The Bank finances projects that protect and improve the natural and built environment and promote social well-being in the interests of sustainable development. The EIB takes a proactive approach to lending for the environment, guided by European Union environmental policies, some of the strictest and best developed in the World. In its activities, as an EU body, the Bank works closely with other EU institutions.

The EIB finances projects that help directly to improve and protect the environment. When financing other kinds of investment, the Bank supports action that minimizes any adverse environmental impacts. By applying EU environmental policies as its benchmark, the Bank’s approach to safeguarding the environment is at least equivalent to international good practice, such as the “Equator Principles” (2003). Approved by the Board of Directors, 5 May 2004.

 

Eksport Kredit Fonden Adopts the International ”Equator Principles” Guidelines

Copenhagen - 14 May 2004

As the first export credit agency (ECA) worldwide and the first financial institution in Denmark, Eksport Kredit Fonden adopts the ”Equator Principles” which are a voluntary set of international guidelines developed by the banks for managing environmental and social issues related to project finance. The “Equator Principles” are based on the policies and procedures as set by the World Bank institution International Finance Corporation (IFC).

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IFC Conducts Training for Banks on the Implementation of Equator Principles

Rome - 12 May 2004

International Finance Corporation (IFC) conducted a training programme in Rome this week for banks that have adopted the Equator Principles. The programme was designed for professionals working in project finance, corporate finance, credit, legal, customer relations and other relevant areas dealing with environmental and social risk management within banks. The programme covered risk assessment, categorizing projects, selecting appropriate assessment tools and identifying value-added solutions for project sponsors. Representatives of nine banks attended the programme conducted in Rome. IFC has, in addition, conducted training programmes on the Equator Principles at individual banks, customized to their needs. To date, a total of thirteen banks have received training from IFC, and IFC estimates it has trained 365 professionals at banks that have adopted the Equator Principles.

 

Twelve Banks Speak Out on the Extractive Industries Review

Washington D.C. - 5 May 2004

Eleven of the banks that have adopted the Equator Principles have written a joint letter to the World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, to express their views on the Extractive Industries Review (EIR). Another bank has sent a separate letter to Mr. Wolfensohn stating its concerns.

In the joint letter, the banks expressed their concerns about EIR recommendations that the World Bank Group (WBG) withdraw from lending to coal immediately and to oil by 2008. The letter states that the banks believe the "EIR has not given sufficient consideration to the fact that the extractive industries are essential to global economic growth and poverty reduction, and that for some countries the extractive industries represent a very important means of creating revenue for government programs."

The banks expressed concern about an EIR recommendation that it should be a precondition of WBG investment that countries have robust governance criteria in place. The banks said that "a country's current inability to meet robust WBG governance criteria should not prevent that country from gaining access to the support, both financial and structural, that is required in order to develop such governance mechanisms. Otherwise, countries that are most in need of such developmental assistance could be excluded ... and will either remain mired in poverty or find less desirable paths to develop their extractive potential."

They also expressed concern about EIR recommendations concerning 'prior informed consent,' and stated the view that the implementation of the WBG Safeguard Policies is intended to result in effective consultation with affected groups and tangible benefits for local communities.

The banks did support the EIR recommendation for increased transparency on revenues paid to governments.

For the full text of the banks' letter, see EIR Banks Letter (pdf - 90k).

 

Bank of America Adopts the Equator Principles

Charlotte, North Carolina - 15 April 2004

Bank of America announced today that it has adopted the Equator Principles. This brings the number of banks which have adopted the principles to 21, including four from North America. Chan Martin, Bank of America Enterprise Market Risk Executive, stated, "The actions we take today can have an impact far beyond the financial transactions that define our business. We believe our adoption of the Equator Principles supports an industry standard that recognizes environmental responsibility".

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