Managing Environmental and Social Assessment
We have more than 15 employees dedicated to CSR, including a team of seven specialists who are directly responsible for reviewing projects against the requirements of our Environmental and Social Risk Management Policy. The members of this Environmental Advisory Services (EAS) team have diverse backgrounds in environmental and social impact assessment, biodiversity conservation and management, human rights, community development and stakeholder engagement, environmental management systems and engineering. This team represents one of the largest in-house environmental departments of any Equator Principles Financial Institution (EPFI) or export credit agency (ECA).
EAS plays a pivotal role in ensuring that we conduct our business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner in accordance with our corporate policies, legal environmental obligations and international commitments. In doing so, EAS is responsible for categorizing and reviewing all projects that we support against applicable standards, including the IFC Performance Standards and Equator Principles. Accordingly, this team works closely with our Project Finance teams to negotiate and structure environmental covenants, Action Plans and annual monitoring and reporting requirements in our loan agreements. EAS also provides guidance to our business teams, reviews environmental documentation, undertakes site visits, ensures project compliance with environmental covenants, and interfaces with exporters as well as external consultants working on projects.
IFC Performance Standards
Adopted in 2006, the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability (i.e. the Performance Standards) provide guidance to its clients on how to design and operate projects in a manner that avoids, mitigates and manages and/or offsets their environmental and social impacts. Taken together, the eight IFC Performance Standards 1. emphasize a management systems approach to risk that provides both the structure and flexibility to work across most sectors in which our clients operate 2. The Performance Standards are globally recognized and widely used by the Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFI) that have adopted them. The Government of Canada promotes these standards in Building the Canadian Advantage: a CSR Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Industry, its CSR Strategy, and several global companies have based their corporate policies on them.
To help incorporate environmental and social risk assessment into our credit and risk management processes, we have adopted and implemented the OECD Recommendation on Common Approaches on Environment and the Equator Principles, which use the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards for Environmental and Social Sustainability as guidance.