EDC releases updated Transparency and Disclosure Policy
Export Development Canada (EDC) is introducing changes to its Transparency and Disclosure Policy to make the organization more open, clear and responsive to the needs of Canadians and its stakeholders. The updated policy comes into effect on April 6, 2020.
“Our goal is to align with the times and with Canadian values, helping us evolve into a more open organization. We recognize that transparency is integral to our business, to facilitating accountability and oversight and to building trust with Canadians and our stakeholders. The fact that transparency is now included in the policy’s title is deliberate. It symbolizes our commitment to make transparency central to EDC’s culture,” said Todd Winterhalt, Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Strategy.
The renamed Transparency and Disclosure Policy, initially introduced in 2001, sets out EDC’s framework for the disclosure of information pertaining to our business in a manner that balances the confidentiality required by our customers with the information sought by the public. It is intended to provide clarity for all audiences about the work we do, whether they are our employees, customers, members of civil society, or the general public.
The updated policy, which was informed by feedback received during a public consultation, will result in improved reporting practices, including tightened dollar ranges and more relevant descriptions for the transactions we support and disclose. For Category A project financing transactions—defined as projects with potential significant adverse environmental or social effects—EDC will publicly disclose that it is considering financing at least 60 days in advance of providing support, up from 30 days.
The policy also recognizes that EDC can help Canadians better understand our business, particularly how we live up to our commitments for sustainable and responsible business. As such, we will expand the information we make public on how we manage risks and adhere to our policies, a commitment also embedded in other EDC environmental and social policies. To this end, EDC has recently published due diligence frameworks for climate change and human rights, which detail how EDC identifies and assesses risks in these critical areas for transactions we consider supporting. EDC will continue to make more information publicly available about how we identify, assess, and manage risks as well as what types of business we will support. Additionally, EDC will begin annually reporting on the aggregate number of transactions that did not proceed and the number of customer relationships that were not onboarded due in whole or in part to concerns related to corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR).
EDC plans to be more transparent and open in our responses to queries from stakeholders. While we must always respect our obligations as a financial institution to protect the commercially sensitive information of our customers, we understand the public’s interest in what we do. As such, we will provide more detail when explaining our processes and the decisions we have made. Finally, we will post on our website formal inquiries we have received regarding our business and our support for specific transactions along with our responses. This will help bring visibility into how EDC engages with our stakeholders and our customers.
“We take pride in our work and in our mandate to support Canadian exporters in their international growth. We welcome the opportunity to speak openly about our business and our commitments in the areas that Canadians care deeply about. While there will always be limits as to what we can disclose, the updated policy makes important strides towards greater transparency, moving us into a leadership role in our industry,” said Winterhalt.
Beginning in 2017, EDC undertook a formal review and public consultation of five policies as part of a broader policy review. These included the Environmental and Social Risk Management Policy, the Environmental and Social Review Directive, the Climate Change Policy, the Human Rights Policy and the Disclosure Policy. The renamed Transparency and Disclosure Policy was the last of these policies to be updated.
Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, we equip Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow their business with confidence. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business.
For more information and to learn how we can help your company, call us at 1-800-229-0575 or visit www.edc.ca.