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Recommendation of the council on common approaches for officially supported export credits and environmental and social due diligence (The “Common Approaches”)
Having regard to the Convention on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development of 14 December 1960 and, in particular, to Article 5 b) thereof;
Having regard to the mandate from OECD Ministers given in 1999 to strengthen Common Approaches on environment and officially supported export credits by the end of 2001 and noting that this mandate was renewed in 2000 when OECD Ministers welcomed the progress towards Common Approaches;
Noting that OECD Ministers in 2001 have recognized that export credit policy can contribute positively to sustainable development and should be coherent with its objectives;
Noting that the present Recommendation builds upon Members’ experience in implementing the 2007 Revised Council Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits [C (2007)65] and its predecessors which this Recommendation replaces, the 1998 Statement of Intent on Environment and the Action Statement, adopted by the Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees (ECG) in February 2000, the ECG Work Plan adopted in 2000, and the ECG Agreement on Environmental Information Exchange for Larger Projects adopted in 1999;
Noting that, since the adoption of the 2007 Revised Council Recommendation, there have been significant developments in the field of environmental and social sustainability;
Noting the initiatives undertaken by the OECD on corporate social responsibility, including the adoption of the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises [C/MIN (2011)11/FINAL];
recognizing that Members and non-Members adhering to this Recommendation (hereafter “Adherents”) have existing obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that business enterprises have the responsibility to respect human rights, as outlined in the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework’ endorsed unanimously by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 16 June 2011;
Noting the key international labour standards set out in the 1998 International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
recognizing the responsibility of Adherents to implement the commitments undertaken by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
recognizing that, while Adherents may have different means of delivering official support for export credits through their export credit agencies (ECAs), the primary role of ECAs is to promote trade in a competitive environment, whereas multilateral development banks and development agencies focus primarily on development assistance;
recognizing that project sponsors, exporters, financial institutions and ECAs have, individually or jointly, different roles, responsibilities and leverage with regard to projects benefiting from official support;
recognizing the sovereign right of buyers’ countries to make decisions regarding projects within their jurisdictions;
recognizing the responsibility of Adherents to consider the positive and negative environmental and social impacts of projects, in particular in sensitive sectors or located in or near sensitive areas, and the environmental and social risks associated with existing operations, in their decisions to offer official support for export credits;
recognizing that, whilst this Recommendation sets out common approaches for addressing environmental and social issues relating to officially supported export credits, Adherents may adopt additional measures for undertaking due diligence that are consistent with the overall objectives of this Recommendation and that any such measures should be shared with other Adherents with the aim of improving common practices, developing guidance and promoting a level playing field;
Wishing to consolidate and build on commitments and progress made by Adherents and other countries to apply international standards to, and to develop environmental and social review procedures for, officially supported export credits;
Noting that the Annexes to this Recommendation form an integral part thereof;
On the proposal of the Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees:
A. RECOMMENDS that Adherents, before taking decisions on officially supported export credits, apply the following common approaches for addressing environmental and social issues relating to exports of capital goods and/or services and the locations to which these are destined.
1. For the purposes of this Recommendation, the following terms shall have the meaning set out below:
2. This Recommendation applies to all types of officially supported export credits1 for exports of capital goods and/or services, except exports of military equipment or agricultural commodities, with a repayment term of two years or more.
3.The objectives of this Recommendation are to:
4. To achieve these objectives, Adherents should:
5. Adherents should screen all applications for officially supported export credits covered by this Recommendation with the aim of identifying which applications should be classified and, where appropriate, subsequently reviewed. The parties involved in an application, including applicants (exporters and lenders) and project sponsors, should provide all information necessary to carry out the screening. The screening should take place as early as possible in the risk assessment process.
6. The screening should identify applications relating to exports of capital goods and/or services according to:
7. Adherents shall classify, in accordance with Section IV of this Recommendation, applications relating to:
8. Adherents shall assess for potential environmental and/or social risks applications relating to:
In undertaking this assessment, Adherents should take into account the industry sector, location and other information available relating to potential environmental and/or social impacts, before making any final commitment to provide official support. Alternatively, Adherents may classify such applications in accordance with Section IV of this Recommendation.
9. Beyond screening, no further action is required under the provisions of this Recommendation for applications relating either to projects for which an Adherent’s share is below SDR 10 million and which are not in or near sensitive areas, or to existing operations for which an Adherent’s share is below SDR 10 million, except where the screening has identified that there may be a high likelihood of severe project-related human rights impacts occurring.
10. Adherents should identify the potential positive and negative environmental and social impacts relating to the applications to be classified. In this context:
11. The three categories for classification are:
12. Adherents should seek to ensure a coherent approach to the classification of projects through reporting and review of such projects, pursuant to paragraph 44 of this Recommendation.
13. Adherents should undertake an environmental and social review of projects, in accordance with the international standards applied to the project as set out in paragraphs 21-26 of this Recommendation, consisting of:
14. Where there is a high likelihood of severe project-related human rights impacts occurring2, the environmental and social review of a project may need to be complemented by specific human rights due diligence.
15.Adherents supporting exports forming only a minor part of a project, or in re-insurance situations, may take into account the environmental and social review carried out by another Adherents, a Major Multilateral Financial Institution, or an Adherent’s development agency in accordance with this Recommendation.
16. When undertaking a review, Adherents should, where appropriate:
17. When undertaking a review, Adherents should indicate to the appropriate parties involved in the project the type of information they require, including, where appropriate, the need for an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). The applicant is responsible for providing the appropriate information to satisfy Adherents’ requirements. The information to be supplied should include, but is not limited to:
18. For a Category A project, Adherents should require an ESIA to be undertaken; the applicant is responsible for providing the resulting ESIA report, together with other studies, reports or action plans covering the relevant aspects of the project. An ESIA report and any supporting documents should address the issues set out in the international standards applied to the project in accordance with paragraphs 21-26 of this Recommendation: in this context, Annex II contains information on the typical items to be included in an ESIA report. An ESIA should not be carried out and reviewed by the same party.
19. The scope of a review for a Category B project may vary from project to project. Adherents should require appropriate information to be provided by the applicant that addresses the relevant environmental and social impacts of the project. Such information may be contained in an ESIA or in project-related assessment reports, planning and concept documents, environmental and social studies and plans, technical documentation of pollution control plans and criteria, applicable legal and regulatory frameworks, community engagement activities (information disclosure, dissemination, consultation and other participatory processes) and information collected during discussions with applicants.
20. Beyond screening and classification, no further action is required under the provisions of this Recommendation for a Category C project.
21. When undertaking a review, Adherents should benchmark:
22. Where such institutions are supporting the project, Adherents may instead benchmark projects against the relevant aspects of the standards of a Major Multilateral Financial Institution.
23. Where projects are benchmarked against the World Bank Safeguard Policies, Adherents may, where appropriate, also need to refer to the relevant aspects of supplementary standards and sources of guidance to ensure an adequate coverage of certain potential social impacts, such as community and gender impacts, labour and working conditions, and health, safety and security issues.
24. Adherents should also benchmark projects against the relevant aspects of the EHS Guidelines, which are referenced in World Bank Safeguard Policy OP 4.01 and IFC Performance Standard 3.
25. In the absence of any relevant industry sector EHS Guidelines, Adherents:
26. Alternatively, where appropriate, Adherents may benchmark projects against the relevant aspects of any other internationally recognized standards, such as European Union standards, that are more stringent than those standards referenced above.
27. The World Bank Safeguard Policies and the IFC Performance Standards referred to in paragraph 21 of this Recommendation are those applicable at the time of the adoption of the Recommendation. In the event of a review of such standards by the relevant standard-setting body, the ECG may decide to adopt the updated standards without undertaking a complete review of this Recommendation. The other international standards and sources of guidance referred to in paragraphs 22-26 of this Recommendation are those applicable at the time of the environmental and social review.
28. Projects should, in all cases, comply with host country standards. Adherents should, therefore, seek assurance that the project complies with local legislation and other relevant host country regulations.
29. Projects should also meet the international standards against which they have been benchmarked, in accordance with paragraphs 21-26 of this Recommendation, recognizing that some of these standards contain margins of tolerance in how their overall objectives may be achieved.
30. In exceptional cases, however, an Adherent may decide to support a project that does not meet the relevant aspects of the international standards against which it has been benchmarked. In such cases, the reasons for the choice of international standards, the reasons for the failure to meet such international standards, the related justification for supporting the project, and any related monitoring procedures must be reported to the ECG in accordance with paragraph 44 of this Recommendation. With due regard to business confidentiality, aggregated information on such cases will be made publicly available by the ECG in accordance with paragraph 42 of this Recommendation.
31. Adherents should evaluate the information resulting from screening and review of a project, and decide whether to request further information, decline or provide official support.
32. In the event that support is to be provided, Adherents should decide whether this should involve conditions to fulfil prior to, or after, the final commitment for official support, for example, measures to prevent, minimize, mitigate or remedy potential adverse environmental and social impacts, covenants, and monitoring requirements. In this context, Adherents may require a project sponsor to devise further action plans to describe and prioritize the mitigation measures, corrective actions, monitoring activities and timetable necessary to manage the project’s environmental and/or social impacts in a manner consistent with international standards and good international industry practice.
33. Where support for a project is provided subject to fulfilment of certain conditions whether during the construction and/or the operation phase of the project, Adherents should ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to monitor the project, regardless of its classification, in order to ensure compliance with the conditions of their official support.
34. In addition, for all limited or non-recourse project finance Category A projects, Adherents should require regular ex post reports and related information to be provided during their involvement in the project to ensure that relevant potential environmental and/or social impacts are addressed according to the information provided by applicants during the environmental and social review.
35. In the case of non-compliance with the conditions of official support, Adherents should take actions that they deem appropriate in order to restore compliance, in accordance with the terms of the contract for official support.
36. Adherents should, where appropriate, encourage project sponsors to make ex post monitoring reports and related information including concerning how environmental and/or social impacts are being addressed publicly available at regular intervals, including in forms accessible to local communities directly affected by the project and other relevant stakeholders.
37.Adherents should publish national ECA environmental and other related policy statements or principles and procedural guidance relevant to the implementation of this Recommendation.
38. Taking into account the competitive context in which they operate and constraints of business confidentiality, Adherents should:
39. Also taking into account the competitive context in which they operate and constraints of business confidentiality, for Category A projects, Adherents should4:
40. The purpose of the ex ante disclosure provisions of paragraph 39 of this Recommendation are to allow for consideration (including possible denial of support) by the appropriate decision-making body of any comments received during the 30 calendar day disclosure period preceding final commitment. As a result where such project or environmental and social impact information has not, for exceptional reasons, been made public, Adherents should explain the circumstances and report these in accordance with paragraph 44 of this Recommendation.
41. Subject to the legal provisions on public disclosure in Adherent countries, Adherents should make available to the public at least annually environmental and social information on projects classified in Category A and Category B for which an Adherent has made a final commitment with respect to providing official support, including the type of information reviewed and the international standards applied, together with an ECA contact point for obtaining additional information.
42. The ECG shall:
43. Adherents shall:
44. Adherents shall report to the ECG ex post on an on-going basis or at a minimum semi-annually, in accordance with Annex III of this Recommendation, all projects classified in Category A and Category B for which a final commitment has been issued. Where more than one Adherent is involved in a project, Adherents should, where possible, seek to exchange information with a view to providing consistent reports to the ECG.
45. Adherents shall continue to build a body of experience on the application of this Recommendation through regular reporting and exchanges of information, with the aim of improving common practices, developing guidance, and promoting a level playing field. To facilitate this work, Adherents shall:
46. To facilitate the building of the body of experience and to give further consideration to climate change issues, Adherents shall:
In this context, where relevant and feasible, Adherents shall try to obtain and to report the estimated annual direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope I and Scope II respectively5) in CO2-equivalent and/or the estimated annual direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1) by carbon intensity (e.g. in g/kWh) for the six greenhouse gases6 to be generated during the operations phase of the project7 as provided during the environmental and social review.
47. Adherents shall give further consideration to issues relating to support for thermal power plants and nuclear power plants, particularly the use of international standards and relevant sources of international guidance. This work should be based on:
48. Adherents shall give further consideration to the issue of human rights, with the aim of reviewing how project-related human rights impacts are being addressed and/or might be further addressed in relation to the provision of officially supported export credits. To facilitate this work, Adherents shall:
49. The OECD Secretariat shall monitor the implementation of this Recommendation through compilation of reporting by the Members and report annually to the ECG.
B.WELCOMES the commitments by non-Adherents to respect environmental and social standards, and ENCOURAGES them to take due account of and adhere to the present Recommendation.
C.INSTRUCTS the ECG, in the light of experience, to report to Council on the implementation of this Recommendation and on the need to amend or undertake a review of elements of this Recommendation, not later than three years from the revision of this Recommendation. Such a report will include, but may not be limited to:
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