EDC’s business is informed by, and benefits from, extensive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders. Given the breadth and complexity of issues related to our business, we welcome different perspectives – and we know that we’re the better for it.
With our leaders setting the tone at the top, there was a marked shift to more open, transparent and frequent dialogue with external stakeholders in 2019. This was both a response to learnings from the prior year’s Environmental and Social Risk Management Policy Framework review, and a recognition that regular engagement is essential for improving our policies and practices.
Here are our key external stakeholders and examples of how we engaged with them in 2019:
CSR Advisory Council
Our CSR Advisory Council of prominent experts provides advice and guidance to our Board and executive management team on our CSR practices.
The primary objective for the spring 2019 meeting was to seek the Council’s advice on how EDC can better leverage its position as an export credit agency operating in the private sector to address the human rights impacts of the businesses we support. The fall 2019 meeting focused on corporate governance and types of approaches boards of directors might take in supporting sustainability strategies. Meeting minutes are posted on our website.
Industry Stakeholder Panel
Our Industry Stakeholder Panel is composed of representatives from national industry associations, representing companies of all sizes from a variety of sectors. The panel gathers annually to discuss trade matters and provide input on how EDC can more effectively support Canadian companies.
Two new participants joined the panel in 2019: Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce and the Organization of Women in International Trade. The themes of the session were trade diversification, and responsible and sustainable business. Meeting minutes are posted on our website.
Customers and industry groups
Through partnerships with industry groups, and participation on panel discussions and in trade missions, we deepen our understanding of Canadian companies’ needs, and are better able to promote their interests.
Our domestic regional offices engaged in the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade’s cross-Canada SME tours to raise awareness of the benefits of exporting and to engage with SMEs.
EDC had a large presence at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, participating on panels and in meetings with Canadian mining companies and international civil society organizations.
EDC executives participated in four panel discussions organized by Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) as part of its Do Business Like a Canadian campaign.
We became a formal partner of the Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored and participated in its annual business summit and its trade mission to the U.S. See Advancing trade diversification section of this report for LGBTQ2+ owned businesses, indigenous-led exporters, and Women in Trade.
Civil society organizations and representatives
Civil society organizations provide us with important perspectives and expertise on EDC’s business operations and how they affect human rights, climate change, business integrity and transparency.
EDC’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Business Officer, Carl Burlock, met with representatives from a coalition of 15 Colombian organizations to hear their perspectives on our business activities in Colombia and deepen our understanding of the risks associated with the markets where Canadian companies do business. The coalition was joined by representatives of Above Ground, Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
We sponsored and participated in the United Nations Global Compact Making Global Goals Local Business Canada summit, which brought together Canadian and international leaders from business, civil society, government and Global Compact networks to discuss how to accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Director of EDC’s Environmental and Social Risk Management participated on a panel to discuss how EDC addresses the question of business and human rights at the Taking Responsibility: Canada, Business and Human Rights symposium. Representatives from civil society and the government attended the event. Our participation at such a forum was an opportunity to connect with our key stakeholders and share information on our respective priorities in advancing our work on business and human rights issues.
By participating in prominent international organizations, we help tackle global issues and shape standards in the areas of climate, biodiversity, human rights and social risks.
We continued our involvement in the Environmental and Social practitioner group at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This forum allows us to share information on environmental and social policies and practices across export credit agencies. Not only does this work advance best practices on key issues, it also helps level the playing field with respect to the global use of export credits.
EDC was engaged in the Equator Principles (EPs) Association as active participants on five working groups, including as co-chair of the EP’s Climate Change Working Group, which developed the updated EP approach to climate change risk management in the context of the Principles. The new version of the EPs (EP4), which takes effect on July 1, 2020, strengthens requirements for human rights and climate change reviews and due diligence on impacts related to indigenous peoples in project financing.